CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Directors of Central Intelligence

Tenet as DCI

2004

Materials arranged chronologically.

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Priest. "Despite Scrutiny of Iraq Data, It's Business as Usual for Tenet; Working Relationship With Bush Still Solid, Officials Say." Washington Post, 4 Feb. 2004, A18. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 3 February 2004, DCI "George J. Tenet sat down on the couch [in the Oval Office], cracked open a notebook and spent a half-hour ... describing threats to the United States -- as he has nearly every day since Bush took office in January 2001. Faulty prewar intelligence on Iraq has put the CIA under scrutiny as never before in Tenet's nearly seven-year tenure. But White House officials point to yesterday's business-as-usual briefing as a sign that Tenet's working relationship with Bush remains solid."

Jehl, Douglas. "Tenet Concedes Gaps in C.I.A. Data on Iraq Weapons." New York Times, 6 Feb. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Speaking at Georgetown University on 5 February 2004, DCI George J. Tenet "acknowledged ... that American spy agencies may have overestimated Iraq's illicit weapons capacities, in part because of a failure to penetrate the inner workings of the Iraqi government." However, he steadfastly defended U.S. "spy agencies and their integrity.... He insisted that intelligence agencies had acted independently of policy makers, and noted that intelligence analysts had never portrayed Iraq as presenting an imminent threat to the United States before the American invasion last March." See also, Dana Priest and Walter Pincus, "Tenet Defends CIA's Analysis of Iraq as Objective, if Flawed," Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2004, A1.

Pincus, Walter. "In Response to Criticism, Tenet Reveals CIA Successes: Director Points to Pakistan, Libya, Iran and North Korea." Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2004, A18. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a speech at Georgetown University on 5 February 2004, DCI George J. Tenet "took the unusual step of disclosing previously secret success by the agency, describing its spying on Pakistan's nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, and on the international trade in nuclear weapons technology involving Libya, Iran and North Korea."

Burger, Timothy J., and Douglas Waller. "Closing in on Tenet: The Senate May Deliver a Harsh Assesment of the CIA Director." Time, 22 May 2004. [http://www.time.com]

"The SSCI "is getting closer to delivering a scathing report on the CIA's prewar intelligence on Iraq.... The panel last week sent Tenet the several-hundred-page report -- minus its conclusions -- for a declassification review."

Bumiller, Elisabeth, and Douglas Jehl. "Tenet Resigns as C.I.A. Director; 3 Harsh Reports on Agency Due." New York Times, 4 Jun. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"George J. Tenet, the besieged director of central intelligence..., abruptly resigned" on 3 June 2004. Both "Tenet and President Bush said the resignation was for personal reasons. But current and former intelligence officials noted that Mr. Tenet was anticipating heavy criticism from three reports expected to assail the agency either over its failure to detect the Sept. 11, 2001, terror plot or the assessments that Iraq possessed unconventional weapons before the American invasion last year." See also, Dana Priest and Walter Pincus, "Tenet Resigns as CIA Director; Intelligence Chief Praised by Bush, But Critics Cite Lapses on Iraq War," Washington Post, 4 Jun. 2004, A1.

Clark comment: George J. Tenet will have served 7 years in a job that has eaten people in a lot less time than that. He has served his country well and faithfully. My wish for him is for his next job to have less stress and more appreciative bosses.

Jehl, Douglas. "Report Blames Agencies Over Prewar Intelligence." New York Times, 4 Jun. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"George J. Tenet's resignation may have been hastened" by the SSCI's "critical, 400-page report" presented to the CIA for comment last month. "Government officials and people close to Mr. Tenet said the classified report was a detailed account of mistakes and miscalculations by American intelligence agencies on whether Iraq possessed illicit weapons before the United States invaded last year. An unclassified version of the report is to be made public this month."

Sanger, David E. "As a Lightning Rod Departs, a Contentious Issue Remains." New York Times, 4 Jun. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

George Tenet's "surprise departure" as DCI "removes from President Bush's inner circle one of the lightning rods for the criticism that America went to war based on faulty intelligence. But it also keeps Mr. Bush exposed to the election-year charge that his White House politicized the work of the intelligence agencies."

Smith, R. Jeffrey, and Walter Pincus. "Tenet Leaves Legacy of Big Successes, but Also Big Failures: Director's Record Has Been Mixed." Washington Post, 4 Jun. 2004, A12. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

"Tenet is credited with sounding the alarm about the most critical threat to U.S. security in the post-Cold War era: Osama bin Laden and his adherents and allies. But he was unable to convince others in the administration of its urgency, and he was unable -- in time to catch the terrorists -- to forge links between intelligence agencies that would have put critical information in investigators' hands."

Washington Post. "[Editorial:] Mr. Tenet's Exit." 4 Jun. 2004, A22. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

"George J. Tenet ... made a relatively artful departure [on 3 June 2004] from the position of CIA director. For months, Mr. Tenet has faced mounting demands that he accept accountability for the agency's failures in assessing the threat of al Qaeda before Sept. 11, 2001, and in estimating Iraq's capacity in weapons of mass destruction.... Mr. Tenet partly preempted the brewing storm by announcing that he was resigning, and only for personal reasons. In a stroke, he deflected some of the heat from himself, the agency to which he has been so dedicated and President Bush....

"It's not that a shamed resignation was entirely called for. In the course of seven years at the head of the CIA ... Mr. Tenet did much to improve the agency and the overall capacity of U.S. intelligence.... Mr. Tenet recognized the threat posed by Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11, although the CIA, like the rest of the bureaucracy, did not respond with sufficient aggressiveness. Agency operatives played a major role in the successful campaign to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and in the exposure of the rogue nuclear programs of Libya and Pakistan. Yet Mr. Tenet's agency mishandled Iraq in ways that undoubtedly will shadow his legacy and may undo some of his success."

Kessler, Ronald. "Tenet's Legacy Won't Fade Quickly." USA Today, 8 Jun. 2004, 21a.

"When [President] Bush announced Tenet's resignation, the pained expression on his face conveyed how sorry he was that Tenet was leaving. Tenet has done a 'superb' job, the president said. To those on the inside who are fighting the war on terrorism and know the real story, that said it all."

Tenet, George J. [Letter to: The Honorable Porter J. Goss, Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives.] Press Release, 24 Jun. 2004. [http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2004/06/dci062304.html]

The DCI states: "I was very much surprised ... by the tone and content of some of the report language associated with HPSCI's FY 2005 Authorization Bill.... I am deeply disappointed at the way the report has chosen to question the leadership and capabilities of the Clandestine Service.... Some of the Committee's criticisms of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence are, in my view, similarly ill-informed."

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Milbank. "In Valedictory, Tenet Defends CIA From Past, Present Critics." Washington Post, 9 Jul. 2004, A7. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 8 July 2004, "[a] day before the release of a searing congressional report about intelligence failures in Iraq, departing Director George J. Tenet told CIA employees not to be distracted by the criticism. In a rousing valedictory ... before cheering colleagues and friends at CIA headquarters, Tenet defended the embattled organization he has run for seven years."

Return to Tenet Table of Contents