Apr 30 2007

Tenet The Whiner II

Published by at 10:55 am under All General Discussions

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.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Tenet The Whiner II”

  1. colin says:


    Be careful when quoting Michael Scheuer. He may be right about Tenet’s self-serving tendencies, but Scheuer has been known to exhibit those same tendencies himself. He always talks about what a “disaster” the Iraq war has been, and how there was never any rationale for going there in the first place, even though he provided that rationale in his first book, “Through Our Enemies Eyes”, published in 2002 (even though the incriminating passages detailing Saddam’s dealings with Islamists in general and al Qaeda in particular have been expunged in later additions). What he says about Tenet does not excuse what he’s said about the Administration, or his constant carping about “neocons”, or his view that the Halocaust Museum in Washington D.C. is an example of the undue influence that Israel holds of U.S policy makers. He’s worth reading, but everything he says needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

  2. AJStrata says:


    Yeah, Scheuer and Tenet are one in the same. BTW, he showed those tendencies throughout this piece in his hits on Bush and Rice. The guy is a real ax-grinder. But, he has also been pretty forthcoming from day one that Clinton-Tenet let Bin Laden get away to do 9-11. I take him with a grain of salt, but he does have good points.

  3. colin says:

    By the way, over at National Review’s “Corner” blog, Rich Lowry is reading and excerpting the book. Suprisingly, from what Lowry writes, when Tenet isn’t blasting the Bush folks, he’s making their case that toppling Hussein’s government is a fully-justified position based on the evidence.

  4. colanut22 says:

    Thx, Clarice. How can Tenet be so angry after he was treated with such great deference by our President? The more we learn, the worse the demo-crats get.

  5. DubiousD says:


    Among other things, Tom kindly reminds us that Tenet’s collaborator… um, I mean co-author of this book was Bill Harlow. Yes, *that* Bill Harlow.

  6. wiley says:

    The amazing and disapppointing thing is how this dolt was able to serve as DCI for so long (2nd longest ever?). One case where W’s loyalty did him no favor, actually hurt the country. Tenet failed miserably in improving the analysis and re-building HUMINT, not to mention allowing the constant, back-stabbing leaks against the Bush admin. And funny thing is he was probably correct about WMD, just wrong on scope/amount. (Saddam had over a year, and plenty of help from the oil-for-food scandal buddies (France, Russia, …) to assist his efforts.)

    And Colin is right on about Scheuer. The guy comes across as decent and forthright, and makes some good points, but he failed terribly in his mission and still does not understand the islamo threat.