This was the line used by the top spy in America during the lead up to the war in Iraq in his new book. If it weren’t so tragic it would be laughable. He states this as though it gives him cover from what this has turned into. That line would be appropriate for someone like me who doesn’t control the most sophisticated spy network in the world. However it loses something when said by Mr. Tenet. Mr. Tenet it was your job to know, your not knowing is precisely the evidence to indict you; not acquit you. Mr. Tenet truly believes that this excuse should exonerate him from the same criticism that he heaps on Mr. Cheney.
The fact that the vice-president had to hype the intelligence should have set off a red flag. Mr. Tenet was the top spy in the country, his job was to suspect everyone and everything. His argument is not persuasive for a number of reasons.
1) Mr. Tenet knew that the main exile promoting regime change and weapons of mass destruction had been released by the CIA because he was unreliable and a crook. This same said exile was coordinating all of the other exiles making the rounds around Capitol Hill and the television shows. Are we to believe that watching Mr. Chalabi directing this farce that Mr. Tenet didn’t remember that months earlier he had kicked Mr. Chalabi off the payroll?
2) There were a number of reporters who were reporting that the evidence did not match the rhetoric. These reporters were not receiving top-secret briefings; they were contacting the experts who knew truth. They did not have to go globetrotting to find them; they merely picked up the phone and called them. Mr. Tenet did not have access to these same experts and people on the ground in Baghdad?
3) The gravity of the situation. You do not commit 150,000 of our young men and women without being sure. Mr. Tenet stated that the evidence against Saddam was a “slam dunk”. In his book he backs away from that comment saying it was taken out of context. While Mr. Tenet was CIA Director never once did he mention that the comment was taken out of context.
4) Mr. Tenet blamed the politicians for the rush to war, but this also does not pass scrutiny. The CIA Director is supposed to rise above political pressure and give an honest and objective assessment of the threats as he sees them. By allowing himself and his analysis’s to be pressured he put partisanship and politics over our national interest.
5) By saying that he thought the weapons were there he is admitting to being incompetent at best and complicit in the rush to judgment at worse. How are we to believe that with billions of dollars in the CIA budget, spy satellites and U-2 planes, and access to the inspectors, that the information the reporters found so easy to acquire the CIA Director could not?
No, Mr. Tenet it is a little late to try and divorce yourself from this catastrophe. You marched right along in lockstep with the rest of this administration in the rub up to this war. You even received a medal for God’s sake. Now you want us to believe that you were some innocent bystander, that doesn’t even pass the laugh test. Mr. Tenet you let your country down when it needed you most. If what you write is true; when we needed you to be strong and courageous you behaved like a coward. Enjoy your medal Mr. Tenet because of you there will be a lot of those given away posthumously.Read more!