Would You Buy, Well, ANYTHING From This Man?
If there is a bigger weasel, a more gutless coward, a more shameless ingrate in public life than failed CIA Director George Tenet, I don't know who it is. This guy is the Barney Fife of the fight against terrorism. He missed everything.
Don't take my word for it. Here's Michael Sheuer, famous neo-con hater, in the right-wing Washington Post:
"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'swhereabouts, 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. 'We could never get over the critical hurdle of being able to corroborate Bin Ladin's whereabouts,' Tenet now writes. That of course is untrue, but it spared him from ever having to explain the awkward fallout if an attempt to get bin Laden failed. "
Now the same guy who never went after Osama, who never fought to topple the Taliban when it mattered, and who didn't have the decency to resign after the worst intelligence failure in American history is re-writing history to make himself the guy who tried to tell us....uh, well, something.
He tells us today that he was astonished when Bush officials linked Al Qaeda and Iraq. It was bogus and he told, er. somebody (but not the president, who he personally briefed every morning). That's what Tenet said on "60 Minutes." But here's what he said in a letter to fellow Democrat Bob Graham in 2002:
“We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa’ida going back a decade”; “Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qa’ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression”; “We have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa’ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad”; “We have credible reporting that al-Qa’ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities”
Gee, maybe all these reports from the CIA are the reason that Hillary Rodham Clinton said "Saddam Hussein has given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members" in 2002? Maybe?
What would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic is that George Tenet--so desperate to do the kind of sucking up that built his political career--is now getting it wrong again in his desperation to bash Bush and win media friends. Today he mocks the notion of fighting Iraq as part of the fight against Al Qaeda, but listen to these words from Tenet in the months leading up to the war:
Tenet described Abu Musab Zarqawi, the main character in the administration’s case that Iraq is working with al Qaeda now, as it had not done in the past, as a “senior al Qaeda associate.” Zarqawi sought medical care in Baghdad, has met with Osama bin Laden, has been financially supported by al Qaeda and has taken “sustenance” from Iraq. But Zarqawi, he pointed out, is not under the control of Hussein.”Hey, didn't that Zarqawi guy turn out to be some kind of Al Qaeda operative? Didn't he kill Coalition soldiers in Iraq, and behead journalists and commit numerous terrorist attacks? But wait--you just told me he was in Iraq when we got there, George. I thought there wasn't any Iraq/Al Qaeda action until we showed up? I thought George W. Bush created Al Qaeda in Iraq, right?
When a miserable failure of a political hack like George Tenet starts throwing sand to cover his own escape, things are going to get ugly, we know that. What I want to know is, if giving the guy the Medal of Freedom won't buy his loyalty, what will? There used to be honor among hacks. The boss gets your back, doesn't fire you, sends you out with a big retirement and a commendation, and you get some cushy job in the private sector and keep your mouth shut.
But this cretin takes the bribe and still stabs the boss in the back. Even Whitey Bulger wouldn't do that.
Finally, there is the fundamental question of character. Why would I believe anything this weasel has to say? When Clinton refused to go after Osama, Tenet could have resigned, or complained publicly--done something that was risky, but mattered. He chose to keep his job.
When Bush was supposedly "ignoring" Tenet's warnings about Al Qaeda (his book says yes, his testimony to the 9/11 Commission says no), he could have resigned, held a press conference, etc. When the Bushies were doing whatever magic mind-control on him to keep him saying things defending the decision to invade Iraq, Tenet could have quit. If he had, it could well have stopped the war, or moved the date back at least.
But at every turn, Tenet the Hack won out over Tenet the Hero. Now he's going to make a million dollars playing a guy in bookstores and on TV that he never had the courage to play in real life.