Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tenet cries into his beer

The International Herald Tribune has obtained a copy of George Tenet's new book, "At the Center of the Storm," due out Monday. In it, Tenet unleashes his frustration at what he perceived as shabby treatment by the folks in the White House.

He pours a lot of vitriol over the figurative heads of the administration, and in no uncertain terms, although he never directly criticizes the president by name. Also, he whines just a little too much that he was a "patsy." (And him a grown man ...)

Anyhoo, some random quotes:

"There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," Tenet writes in a devastating judgment that is likely to be debated for many years.

Nor, he adds, "was there ever a significant discussion" about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.

Tenet admits that he made his famous "slam dunk" remark about the evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But he argues that the quote was taken out of context and that it had little impact on Bush's decision to go to war. He also makes clear his bitter view that the administration made him a scapegoat for the Iraq war.

Tenet described with sarcasm watching an episode of "Meet the Press" last September in which Cheney twice referred to Tenet's "slam dunk" remark as the basis for the decision to go to war.

"I remember watching and thinking, 'As if you needed me to say 'slam dunk' to convince you to go to war with Iraq,'" Tenet writes.

He also expresses skepticism about whether the increase in troops in Iraq will prove successful. "It may have worked more than three years ago," he wrote. "My fear is that sectarian violence in Iraq has taken on a life of its own and that U.S. forces are becoming more and more irrelevant to the management of that violence."

As violence in Iraq spiraled, beginning in late 2003, Tenet writes, "rather than acknowledge responsibility, the administration's message was: Don't blame us. George Tenet and the CIA got us into this mess."

There's more at: Tenent Denounces Cheney

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