Monday, April 30, 2007
by Ray McGovern
"......George Tenet's book shows that he remains, first and foremost, a politician – with no clue as to the proper role of intelligence work. He is unhappy about going down in history as "Slam-Dunk Tenet." But, George protests, his famous remark to President Bush on Dec. 21, 2002, was not meant to assure the president that available intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a "slam dunk." Rather he meant that the argument that Saddam Hussein had such weapons could be enhanced to slam-dunk status in order to sell war on Iraq. Those of you who tuned in to CBS' 60 Minutes Sunday night heard Tenet explain what he meant when he uttered the words he now says everyone misunderstood or distorted in order to blame him for the Iraq war. What he says he meant was simply:
"We can put a better case together for a public case." [sic]
Tenet still doesn't get it. Those of us schooled in the craft and ethos of intelligence remain in wide-mouthed disbelief, perhaps best summed up by veteran operations officer Bob Baer's quip:
"So, it is better that the 'slam dunk' referred to the ease with which the war could be sold? I guess I missed that part of the National Security Act delineating the functions of the CIA – the part about CIA marketing a war. Guess that's why I never made it into senior management."......"