« You want to leave who behind? | Main | Has AQ met its match? »

30 April 2007

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Nicholas Weaver

I remember about 6 months/1 year into the war, when it was clear there was no WMDs and Tenant gave a big speech on why they weren't found...

A very pro-war friend of mine was reading that speech to me in the car.

I found it remarkable not for what was said but what was NOT said, as there was plenty of information about how the process failed grossly that wasn't in his speech.

EG, the almost complete amnesia about the results of the returned UN inspectors.

I found the entire thing one huge lie by omission. I wouldn't trust this snake to collect intelligence on a preschooler, or to honestly report what he found.

whynot

Tenet gets in a long line of Bush lackey apologists. 'I knew better, but what could I do', rationalizers. From Powell, to O'Neil and now this medal winning shlub. They all should've stood up when it counted. Maybe like convicted felons we shouldn't allow them to profit from the proceeds of the carnage they wrought.

Larry K

It's alarming that a man of Tenet's character could have been in charge of the CIA -- and by "character" I mean both the kind of guy Tenet is and how bad (or "loose") a guy of that kind he is. Tenet reminds of a certain type of professionally moody, self-dramatizing athletic coach -- akin to Bobby Knight or Tony LaRussa or any number of others -- at once a blowhard and a cheerleader who is prone to bouts of anger, pouting, and self-pity when it helps him get his way. It seemed particularly revealing in the "60 Minutes" interview when Tenet emphasized his supposedly deep emotional involvement in his work and how personally angry 9/11 made him, adding at one point that he's "Greek" and thus, the implication was, temperamentally given to powerful waves of emotion. I would say to that that whenever someone proclaims that he's a very emotional guy, what he's really saying is that he's a person who tries to use strong displays of emotion -- table-pounding, buddy-buddy-ism, moist sentiment, etc. -- to get his way, especially when he suspects that he can't do so on the merits of the case. How much of his own b.s. of this sort Tenet actually believes I don't know, but either way, the thought that a man like this was where he was is alarming.

Will

"Then he made the politically appointed jump to Langley. Now, he is (in his own mind) a figure from a Tom Clancy or John Le Carre novel. "

A legend in his own mind. Maureen Dowd "MODO" skewers "Slam" in her latest column.

confusedponderer

Where Tenet is correct, however, is when he said that the Bush administration didn't need him to say 'slam dunk' to want to invade Iraq. But that's about it.

In everything else he is pitiful. But when he is denying the CIA tortured, he is either brazen or delusional. And he uses the Administrations standard weasel legalse: For an act to violate the torture statute, it must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.

Without delving into the obvious moral and practical dilemmas, let's delve just into this argument: Equivalent in intensity to the pain? One cannot measure pain. So how will you determine what is equivalent? Is there a pain-o-metre? Maybe built by DARPA's black works? Oh, nevermind. We're the government. We don't torture. Trust us.

It boils down to: When you're not dead, or didn't have an organ failure, it wasn't torture. Everything else goes. No torture. You see, the pain-o-metre sais it is not equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. As for your fingernails, the hypodermic needles are sterile. No impairment of bodily functions through later infections, we know our job. And by the way sucker, you only think you're drowning.... ;)

The initiators, Tenet, Bybee, Yoo, Gonzales -- and of course Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld etc. who re-introduced torture and the confession principle and re-set the investigative process into medieval pre-enlightenment mode -- now won't have any of it.

That depends on what your definition of "is" is
So true.

You know, torture is, when the others do it.

Matthew

Col.: I am convinced that Georgetown University is committed to ruining its academic reputation. I have had the change to meet two of its professors in person, Robert Gallucci and Anthony Lake. Lake was the more impressive of the two, but utterly unable to see the ME except through Zionist eyes. He bragged about how he converted to Judaism and he enjoyed going to Jewish Holiday functions. That's fine, except the way he said it implied that practicing Judiaism was a step up from practicing Christianity. Strike one.

Gallucci is really unimpressive. He made a big deal of saying that America has a "moral" obligation to defend Israel. Since I'm a "realist," that stuff is immediately off-putting. It is also reflective of Georgetown's mediocrity: If the Dean of the School of Foreign Service thinks that America has a "moral" obligation to defend the only non-Arab state in the ME, but not the surrounding pro-American Arab states, it's predictable that all these Georgetown-trained diplomats are losing the ME--and constantly surprised by our increasing unpopularity.

semper fubar

I thought he came off as a complete buffoon. I've watched other career intelligence people interviewed on TV over the years -- some whom I've agreed with, some whom I abhor -- but none of them EVER came off as a buffoon. They were serious. Deadly serious, you might say.

And I might not be the most insightful person when it comes to judging another's veracity, but he was lying through his teeth. "We don't torture." Yeah, OK, George. Just because you've practiced looking someone straight in the eye and not blinking when you say it, doesn't mean we can't tell you're lying.

A truly disgraceful performance.

(Operative word being "performance," I guess.)

Leigh

You're right, Colonel. BOYCOTT THE BOOK.

I have a strong stomach, but after more than 40 minutes of Tenet last night, the very thought of devoting another hour or so to his book--that's sickening.

Leigh

P.S. It's already #2 on Amazon.

Lurch

Thank you, Colonel, for putting these observations so well. Every government needs paper shufflers - as functionaries, but it is not a job that teaches leadership, nor the deductive leap this is sometimes part of the intelligence synthesis.

"He must have been an awful child."

We seem to be beset with failed children these days.

It is dispiriting that Georgetown will have two such on the faculty. Ignatius prayed for the ability to labor and not seek reward.

Montag

What got me was where, just before 9/11, he argued for attacking Afghanistan in order to forestall the potential (at that time) Al Qaeda attack. Wouldn't a more effective defense have been to go intensely ON defense and shake the tree to disrupt such ONGOING terrorist operations? Bizarre! And his rationale for accepting the Medal of Freedom after getting corkscrewed by the Administration? Well, isn't it lovely to think so.

Stanley Henning

I was considering attending the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in early 1962 when a quirk of fate directed me to the University of Hawaii through an East West Center grant - a wonderful experience then, and a great relief now as I see the names being associated with Georgetown University.

Stanley Henning

By the way, Tenet's sick performance does not erase the indellible blotch left by Bush Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, and the host of yes-men who failed to speak up along the way to infamy.

Montag

Here's an excellent article: "Ray McGovern: Sorry They've Been So Mean To You George." It includes an open letter to Tenet by 5 intelligence professionals.

http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/contributors/969

michael savoca

Colonel Lang, I can not dispute you estimation of the character and style of Director Tenet. Ok I won’t buy the book, I might steal it (and then put it back on the shelf so as not to drive up the numbers “sold”).

What is important, is this, we have another government official at or above a directorate level stating that the attack against US by AQ on 911 was falsely tied to the decision to go to war in Iraq, a decision that was made with little regard for the intelligence on the subject ,which was mixed at best. A decision that let OBL escape being captured and killed.

The “Downing Street Memo” documented communication between P.M. Tony Blair and President George W. Bush that the “intelligence was being fixed” around the policy decision to go to war in Iraq. That says it all.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0617/dailyUpdate.html

Director Tenets revelation that Richard Pearle and others within the inner circle of the white house were using 911 as an excuse to go to war in Iraq was revealed previously by President Bush’s first Secretary of Treasury, Paul O Neil. In an interview several years ago O Neil stated that the very first cabinet level meetings at the beginning of the Bush 43 presidency were about deposing Saddam and finding an excuse to take military action in Iraq. The transcript of the interview tells all:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/09/60minutes/printable592330.shtml

O Neil reveals that our government was already dividing up the oil bounty in plans discussed before 911. OK, if it was a strategic issue that the US had to have this oil, and it was proved and put out like that at least I could respect the honesty if not the thievery. But the fact is the Iraqi oil was… and is… going to be pumped and sold on the international oil market. The question is will it be Exxon-Mobil or Total-Fina or Zhougyan Petroleum or whom ever that gets the profits. And so really the people of our country were lied to so that our Men and Women in uniform could be USED to secure oil for particular corporations and for their wealth. And of course the war is a hell of a shot in the arm for the private contractors and mercenaries.

Tennet is without honor for failing to take a stand, but his story is important.

I am disgusted, ashamed and so sorry for the parents and children of our soldiers and all who have been killed and injured over this lie. Maybe we can catch the president lying about oral sex then the nation will be ok about impeachment. But killing half a million people, soldiers and civilians combined (with more to come) and driving the US treasury into insolvency…hey fuggetaboutit.

JfM

George joins the disreputable Pantheon of Beltway shameless sell-outs, cowards and bureaucratic villains who’ve cash in on their moral failings having earlier presided over the further unraveling of our national security. He is a glib scalawag in a $400 suit and a typical running dog claiming new found redemption. Now, with CNN’s release of the condemnation by half a dozen of his former close underlings, he and his puffery are totally discredited.

The old 1SG probably said it best: “Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.”

Nicholas Weaver

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/04/29/tenet.letter/index.html

George Tennet, the "Alberto Gonzalez of the CIA."


I think the only ex Bush official who will come off looking good in the eyes of history is Richard Clark. I may think he hyped the electronic side of things too much, but he was the only ex Bush official to speak out publically BEFORE the Iraq war became grossly unpopular and an obvious loss, and Bush's popularity plunged to Nixonian levels.

walrus

Lurch doesn't know how right he is when he mentions "Failed Children' because something in childhood is thought to trigger Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This disease is now endemic in western government decison makers like Tenet, and it could be the end of us.

Sufferers of this condition are prepared to work very, very hard to get into positions where they can bask in reflected power. Unfortunately their condition blinds them to certain matters and leads to rotten decison making when given complete authority.

Read about the symptoms elsewhere on the net.

I have been reading a book on the interrogation of Nazi war criminals prior to the Nuremburg trials.

A psychiatrists summary of Goering was as follows: "Highly intelligent, witty, persuasive and charming (he even charmed his Russian interrogators - quite a feat). Grasping and ruthless in hunting down and destroying anyone who strayed into his imagined territory (administrative territory). It was however completely lost on Goering why he was being treated as a war criminal. When asked why he did nothing to save his friend Rohm, he didn't understand the question, "but he was in the way" was all he said.

Goering was a narcissist, so is Tenet.

In Tenet's case, I would believe he has spent his entire career "managing up" and sucking his way up the tree, ruthlessly destroying perceived competitors.

I would also believe that Tenet simply doesn't see any form of interrogation as torture unless it spills blood because, like Goering, he has the classic narcissists total incapacity to empathise with ordinary people. To put it another way, its a "non question" - a person may have information, so extract it, any way you like. This attitude ultimately leads to inhuman, and wrong, decision making.

There is no way Tenet would advance a contrarian opinion to his boss unless he believed there was a personal advantage for him in doing so.

His performance (and book) is all about HIM. It's not about decision making, justification, analysis, strategic conditions, etc. etc. its about HIM. Being unable to empathise, he has no regard whatsoever for the consequences of his actions, except as they affect HIM. 600,000 dead Iraqis, 3400 dead troops, so????

The Bush Administration is awash with these people, and so are the higher levels of many corporations

JerseyJeffersonian

Whynot,

As michael savoca also points out, Paul O'Neil did do the honorable thing; i.e., he resigned and made the Bush administration's machinations against Saddam and Iraq (prior to 9/11) known in his memoirs. He didn't lay down for our Maximum Leader (and GW, too) like Powell did after he knew or strongly suspected the truth. O'Neil didn't lay down with dogs long enough to get up with fleas. Good on ya, Paul.

Michael

I am sure in Tenet's mind the CIA's actions (in the secret prisons) isn't "torture" if there is a possibility (however remote) that the information extracted could save lives.

ie - it isn't torture, its simply getting information to save lives as quickly as possible.

No - Tenet needs to face the music - as do all 'leaders' responsible for this mess.

jon

Tenet may come out of this better than any other cabinet secretary. But that's like being in quicksand up to your armpits, when the other's are in up to their necks.

He certainly did not fulfill the office of DCI. His job was to make sure that information gathering was sufficient, and that properly weighted, vetted intelligence be provided, and supported, to the President.

He was indifferent to quality. He did not prevent a parallel rogue information processing shop (WHIG) he set up and provide conflicting, superceding analysis. He did not support the analysis of his own agency. He did not battle with other Cabinet Secretaries, and insist that the considered advice of the intelligence community prevail.

He stood by when his job was to act. His job was to make sure that the best intelligence was given priority consideration. What he did was go along, and then he sat behing Powell at the UN. When Woodward quoted his 'slam dunk' he said nothing.

He should have been able to prevail in White House discussions. When that failed, and it became clear how poorly his personnel had been treated, and the danger imminent to the country, he should have resigned. And he should have issued a public statement warning the country of the error of invasion. But he did not.

He shares culpability for these and other errors with many others, and his is not the greatest of mistakes and misjudgments. But he must take full responisbility for what he did and did not do.

Tradecraft also seems to have suffered on his watch. How many CIA agents are now under indictment in Europe? How many governments will be embarrased for rendition flights, and the consequences of what happened on the ground? The CIA seems to have been less complicit in torture than other intelligence arms, but they are not innocents.

Tenet gave the administration a bit of cover, having been one of the rare holdovers from Clinton. I wonder what he had to promise to keep his job?

But Tenet now has a payday and a spiffy medal. They all seem happy enough to stick around for the cash. No matter who else has to suffer.

John in LA

Tenet's right about in-line with the other mediocrities of the Bush administration.

And let's don't let colin powell off the hook. Unindicted co-conspirator during Iran-Contra. 100% as responsible for the war and the lies as any of them.

We really have to look deep into our political system and ask why we get this quality of individual. It's really quite shocking.

Ultimately, it has to be the heart of the political process.

So few people vote, the torturous rig of the Electoral College, absence of term limits...it's all perfectly designed to allow a microscopic number of organizations to buy out the political process.

But it doesn't change reality. And this is why the experience in Iraq and the Isreali experience in Lebanon are instructive.

As with Iran Contra, the run-up to the present Iraq was chiefly an exercise in disinformation aimed at the American people.

Hundreds of individuals in dozens of governments around the world had information kept from the Americans.

And the largest media organizations were totally willing co-conspirators. Judith Miller and the New York Times, particularly, played a poisonous role.

Clifford Kiracofe

From an open letter Tenet, 29 April 2007 by several former intelligence professionals:

...."In the end you allowed suspect sources, like Curveball, to be used based on very limited reporting and evidence. Yet you were informed in no uncertain terms that Curveball was not reliable. You broke with CIA standard practice and insisted on voluminous evidence to refute this reporting rather than treat the information as suspect. You helped set the bar very low for reporting that supported favored White House positions, while raising the bar astronomically high when it came to raw intelligence that did not support the case for war being hawked by the president and vice president.
...."Mr. Tenet, as head of the intelligence community, you failed to use your position of power and influence to protect the intelligence process and, more importantly, the country."

Full text at:
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/30/870/

A refresher on Curveball:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0402-01.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/24/AR2006062401081.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,462782,00.html

Although there is nothing new in political operatives compromising the insitutional integrity of our intelligence community, Pentagon, and State Department, this time the result is catastrophic. And George reportedly gets a cool $4 million from the publisher. Of course, Wolfie got the World Bank slot and Feith was already a millionaire from weapons deals for Israel and others in the 1980s, some say....

And how much will Kinky Condi and all the others rake in??? And how about that Mr. Shock and Awe and the DC Madam:
"... Palfrey already has named her first name, as it were, on her website, where she has posted a court document from April 12 in which she alleges formal US naval commander Harlan Ullman was a "regular customer" whom she needs to subpoena.
With James Wade, Ullman developed the military doctrine of "shock and awe" used by US government in its invasion of Iraq..."

mike

Don't damn the symptoms (Tenet), cut out the cancer (Bush).

mike

ked

I recall when Georgetown had faculty of the character of Jan Karski. Now, Hoya Lutum.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Blog powered by Typepad