Remember how so many people were calling for Tenet’s head after 9/11? And when it looked like he was going to get the axe, things started coming out from the CIA rank and file that was so damaging to Bush that nothing happened?
Now, David Kay is wailing about the lousy information he got re Iraq’s WMDs and he seems to blame the entire fiasco on our agancies. But in the run-up to the invasion, it became apparent that all the caveats the CIA applied to their info were stripped away by the Administration.
Didn’t we all hear rumors that Cheney was squeezing the CIA et al, for intelligence to justify a war? That he even created his own intelligence group? Wasn’t the “proof” of the Yellow Cake buys so blatantly forged that only a cretan would fall for it?
And wasn’t the reason that Bush couldn’t develop a coalition was that all countries (except the UK) who saw Bush’s WMD “evidence” recognized a load of crap when they saw it?
I think Bush knows if he fires Tenet, the shite that hits the fan will thoroughly spatter all over Bush and Company. Not Tenet.
No question about it, Tenet agreed to take it in the nuts for assorted intelligence issues, and Bush agreed not to fire him. Intel people are notoriously tough to fire (or hound out of office) and they tend to avoid the public eye, for obvious reasons. You can bet that Tenet is gonna be around a while.
It might appear to be an acknowledgment of a screwup, and that can’t be allowed, ya know? It just makes everything else you’ve done, and every other personnel decision you’ve made, look dubious and invites further embarrassing inquiries. Once the first few stones are out of the wall, the rest come tumbling after. The pretense that the intel actually used to justify the war was fundamentally correct, or at least is still conceivably not incorrect, only has to be maintained for another 9 months.
I dunno. Tenet migh look like an obvious fall guy, but CIA directors tend to have nice thick files on people (and those people’s fathers) with info in them that those people don’t want to become public. I’m usually the last person to buy into Tom Clancy type conspiracy theories, but in this case I think it’s warrented as at least one of the key reasons.
I’m saying that it is not at all unresonable to suspect that Tenet has “dirt” on Bush Sr, Bush Jr, or any number of Bush relatives or friends. And Bush Jr may or may not be aware of what this “dirt” is, or whether it even exists. But it’s got to cross his mind.
Look what a hornet’s nest O’Neill stirred up, and he wasn’t even much of an insider. CIA and FBI directors have to be in an enviable position of power among politicos.
The question in the OP is a curiousity only if you believe the “faulty intelligence” about Iraq was truly the fault of the intelligence agencies and George Tenet.
If, on the other hand, the fault lies elsewhere – like in the White House – then ousting Tenet would be political suicide:
George W. Bush: “For giving me false intelligence that prompted me to start a war with Iraq, I am firing George Tenet.” George Tenet: “As my last act as director of the CIA, I am releasing these dated memos showing us repeated warning the White House that there was insufficient cause to go to war with Iraq.” George W. Bush: “Oh, sh*t…”
Sounds reasonable. But then if Tenet already knew his job was ironclad, why would he have made that statement taking the blame for the “16 words”, and then later admit that he had in fact tried to talk them out of using the 16 words? The only explanation that makes sense to me was that they had made a deal to make him the fall guy.