Directors of Central Intelligence

Tenet as DCI


Materials arranged chronologically.

Pincus, Walter. "Tenet Defends Iraq Intelligence: CIA Chief Rebuts Allegations of Pressure From Administration Before the War." Washington Post, 31 May 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a statement released on 30 May 2003, DCI George J. Tenet "publicly defend[ed] the agency's intelligence on Iraq's possession of chemical and biological weapons.... Tenet's statement came in response to the release on [29 May 2003] of a 'memorandum' to President Bush posted on several Internet sites by a group of retired CIA and State Department intelligence analysts [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity]. The analysts said there is 'growing mistrust and cynicism' among intelligence professionals over 'intelligence cited by you and your chief advisers to justify the war against Iraq.'"

Taylor, Jay. "When Intelligence Reports Become Political Tools . . ." Washington Post, 29 Jun. 2003, B2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The deputy assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research under President Ronald Reagan offers a harsh judgment of DCI George J. Tenet's performance over the past year: "[I]t appears that he has not served Congress and the American people well on the question of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and alleged Iraqi ties to al Qaeda. He seems to have engaged in over- and under-statement; highly selective release of facts and assessments, including the clever use of 'key judgments' and executive summaries; failure to correct exaggerated statements by the president and others; and failure to stop a maverick Pentagon operation producing intelligence as art."

Sanger, David E., and James Risen. "C.I.A. Chief Takes Blame in Assertion on Iraqi Uranium." New York Times, 12 Jul. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In a statement issued on 11 July 2003, DCI George J. Tenet "accepted responsibility ... for letting President Bush use information that turned out to be unsubstantiated in his State of the Union address, accusing Iraq of trying to acquire uranium from Africa to make nuclear weapons."

Pincus, Walter. "Tenet Says He Didn't Know about Claim." Washington Post, 17 Jul. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to congressional and administration sources, DCI George J. Tenet told the Senate intelligence committee during a nearly five-hour closed-door session on 16 July 2003 "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." But Tenet told the senators "that he takes responsibility for the now-famous 16-word sentence ... because an agency official had approved it after negotiations with the White House."

Pincus, Walter. "CIA Director George J. Tenet Discusses the National Intelligence Estimate." Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2003, A10. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

This article presents excerpts from DCI Tenet's written responses to a series of oral and written questions from the Washington Post about the 1 October 2002 NIE on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Judis, John B., and Spencer Ackerman. "The Operator." The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2003. [http://www.tnr.com]

"At a moment when many in the CIA, probably including [DCI George J.] Tenet, had their doubts about the factual premises of the Iraqi war, Tenet compromised his agency's mandate to 'deliver intelligence that is clear and objective.'"

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Priest. "The Focus on Tenet Sharpens After Leak: Criticism of CIA and Director Intensifies." Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

DCI "George J. Tenet is under fire as never before. With efforts unsuccessful so far to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, some conservative lawmakers and pundits are blaming the agency for inadequate intelligence on Saddam Hussein. Democrats are accusing Tenet of bending the intelligence to support President Bush's policy of preemption in Iraq."

Powell, Bill. "How George Tenet Brought the CIA Back from the Dead." Fortune, 13 Oct. 2003, 128-134.

This is a breezy article that makes some good points and, despite the access given the reporter at CIA Headquarters, misses others. Nonetheless, the main point is clear: that "[a]mid controversy and two wars," George Tenet has "led a classic turnaround by running the Agency like a business."

Creswell, Julie. "The Trials of Tenet." Fortune, 27 Oct. 2003, 50.

"Everyone at the agency, from Tenet on down, was appalled at the 'outing' of ... Valerie Plame, who worked on proliferation issues as a so-called NOC.... But amid all hell breaking loose in this, an important political year, agency insiders say both the President and Tenet are being grownups about the Plame controversy.... Given that, rumors that Tenet is not long for the world are probably wrong: He's unlikely to resign anytime soon, despite what everyone around him acknowledges is a burnout pace.

"Tenet, however, is upset at the House Intelligence Committee, which in a Sept. 25 letter to the agency engaged in some frank Monday-morning quarterbacking about prewar intelligence in Iraq.... Clearly annoyed, Tenet fired back in a letter of his own..., calling the committee's criticisms at best premature, and at worst completely wrong."

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