More Tenet

MORE TENET….The New York Times has a copy of George Tenet’s new book (“purchased at retail price in advance of publication”!), and it sounds like it must be a snoozer. Here’s about the best thing they could find to excerpt from it:

Mr. Tenet hints at some score-settling in the book. He describes in particular the extraordinary tension between him and Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, in internal debate over how the president came to say erroneously in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.

He describes an episode in 2003, shortly after he issued a statement taking partial responsibility for that error. He said he was invited over for a Sunday afternoon, back-patio lemonade by Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state. Mr. Powell described what Mr. Tenet called “a lively debate” on Air Force One a few days before about whether the White House should continue to support Mr. Tenet as C.I.A. director.

“In the end, the president said yes, and said so publicly,” Mr. Tenet wrote. “But Colin let me know that other officials, particularly the vice president, had quite another view.”

What else? Tenet now says that the pre-war CIA assessment of Iraqi WMD was “one of the lowest moments of my seven-year tenure.” He thinks maybe he shouldn’t have accepted his Presidential Medal of Freedom. And he says a small group of insane hawks inside the administration were obsessed with Iraq almost from the moment the Twin Towers fell. None of this is exactly breaking news.

And George Bush? He is “portrayed personally in a largely positive light.” Sounds like Tenet still hasn’t quite figured out that the cossacks report to the czar.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation