WHO’S THE “MYSTERY OFFICIAL”?….Things seem to be closing in. CIA chief George Tenet testified before a Senate committee yesterday and said, first, that he was out of the loop:

CIA Director George J. Tenet told the Senate intelligence committee yesterday that his staff did not bring to his attention a questionable statement about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa before President Bush delivered his State of the Union address.

….”Members were stunned,” one Democratic senator in the meeting said, “because he said he basically wasn’t aware of the sentence until recently.”

But then he said he was in the loop and knows who was pushing to have that sentence in the speech in the first place:

Sen. Dick Durbin, who was present for a 4 1/2-hour appearance by Tenet behind closed doors with Intelligence Committee members Wednesday, said Tenet named the official. But the Illinois Democrat said that person’s identity could not be revealed because of the confidentiality of the proceedings.

….Durbin, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said that Tenet “certainly told us who the person was who was insistent on putting this language in which the CIA knew to be incredible, this language about the uranium shipment from Africa.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan responded by basically calling Durbin a liar.

So: Tenet didn’t know the uranium claim was dubious, but he did argue to have the claim watered down and does know who he was arguing against.

This is becoming a very tangled web.