Apr 30 2007
George Tenet seems to be the consumate DC bureacrat – which means he is good at climbing political ladders and not good at getting things done (in DC these two talents are distinctly different and actually in opposition). I wrote here about how Tenet was just whining in his new book about being called for his actions (or inactions). Just to let folks know I am not alone and those on the inside agree here is the first head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit with a career of working with Whiney Tenet:
At a time when clear direction and moral courage were needed, Tenet shifted course to follow the prevailing winds, under President Bill Clinton and then President Bush — and he provided distraught officers at Langley a shoulder to cry on when his politically expedient tacking sailed the United States into disaster.
It seems Tenet was a posterior-puckering-suck up. But that is what sycophants do – they simply try and please their masters. Bush prefers people who challenge orthodoxy and find ways to succeed despite the bureacratic rigor mortus of DC. Tenet was, sadly, the one exception. And it seems, Tenet is a two-faced suck-up, telling the CIA folks one thing and the Clinton NSC another:
But what troubles me most is Tenet’s handling of the opportunities that CIA officers gave the Clinton administration to capture or kill bin Laden between May 1998 and May 1999. Each time we had intelligence about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Tenet was briefed by senior CIA officers at Langley and by operatives in the field. He would nod and assure his anxious subordinates that he would stress to Clinton and his national security team that the chances of capturing bin Laden were solid and that the intelligence was not going to get better. Later, he would insist that he had kept up his end of the bargain, but that the NSC had decided not to strike.
Since 2001, however, several key Clinton counterterrorism insiders (including NSC staffers Richard A. Clarke, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon) have reported that Tenet consistently denigrated the targeting data on bin Laden, causing the president and his team to lose confidence in the hard-won intelligence.
Tenet would have done better to go quietly into the night. Now it is becoming clear where a lot of the security broke down. Tenet was not being honest to the CIA or the NSC.