Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures
Friday, Sept. 2, 2005
Former CIA director George Tenet, said to be the target of what the
Washington Times called "a scathing report by Inspector General John
Helgerson" - may go public with embarrassing disclosures about the
Bush administration and its actions leading up to Sept. 11, 2001.
The CIA report, prepared as the result of a 17-month investigation by
a team of 11 CIA officials, blames Tenet and several top CIA
officials for its failure pre-9/11 to deal with al-Qaida.
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But former Reagan White House aide and intelligence expert John B.
Roberts II, quoting an anonymous source close to Tenet, wrote in
Thursday's Washington Times that the former chief spook has no
intention of taking it lying down.
The report, delivered to Congress this week, recommends punitive
sanctions against Tenet, former Deputy Director of Operations James
L. Pavitt and former counter-terrorist center head J. Cofer Black.
Roberts writes, "George Tenet is not going to let himself become the
fall guy for the September 11th intelligence failures, according to a
former intelligence officer and a source friendly to Mr. Tenet."
In retaliation, Roberts says that Tenet may turn the tables and put
the blame on President Bush.
Tenet, he claims, has already written a fiery, 20-page, "tightly
knitted rebuttal" to the Inspector General's report. But Tenet's
response has been marked "classified," in contrast to usual CIA
practice. Also unavailable to the public is the report itself.
Roberts says Tenet's decision to strike back could be very bad news
for the President.
Wrote Roberts, "Mr. Tenet's decision to defend himself against the
charges in the report poses a potential crisis for the White House.
"According to a former clandestine services officer, the former CIA
director turned down a publisher's $4.5 million book offer because he
didn't want to embarrass the White House by rehashing the failure to
prevent September 11 and the flawed intelligence on Iraq's weapons of
Quoting a "knowledgeable source," Roberts wrote that Tenet "had
a `wink and a nod' understanding with the White House that he
wouldn't be scapegoated for intelligence failings."
Roberts claims a "deal" was made between Tenet and Bush, one that was
sealed with the President's award of the Presidential Freedom Medal
to the former CIA head.
In his rebuttal, Tenet, Roberts warns, "treads perilously close to
affirming the account of Richard Clarke, the former NSC terrorism
official who claimed the Bush administration's had delayed adopting a
strategy against al-Qaida."
Current CIA Director Porter Goss is between a rock and a hard place,
according to Roberts, who explains that Goss will be criticized for
covering up if he does nothing. But if he follows the IG's
recommendation to convene formal hearings as a prelude to sanctions,
Tenet himself may go public to defend his reputation by damaging the
President and his administration.
Roberts concludes: "The $4.5 million book offer may soon be back on
the table, and this time Mr. Tenet might take it."
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