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April 30, 2007

George Tenet Has No Integrity

Former CIA director George Tenet went on CBS' 60 MInutes Sunday evening and spewed his bitterness and vitriol all over the place. What he didn't do was take even an ounce of responsibility for the seminal role he played in the Invasion of Iraq. He offered phony apologies for the mistaken claims about Saddam's possession of WMD's, but mostly he just blamed everyone under the sun for the disaster our government has created in the Middle East, and the subsequent rise in terror attacks all across the globe. Then he bullied the interviewer, Scott Pelley, for 30 minutes. And he lied. He lied about the operating policy of torture that the Bush mob has been engaging in, is still engaging in, and continually glosses over with Orwellian phrases like "enhanced interrogation techniques" and "extraordinary rendition". Pelley tried hard to nail him on the secret prisons and the torture techniques. Tenet's response was a bunch of crap.

"The image that's been portrayed is, we sat around the campfire and said, 'Oh boy, now we go get to torture people." Well, we don't torture people. Let me say that again to you. We don't torture people. Okay?" Tenet says.

"Come on, George," Pelley says.

"We don't torture people," Tenet maintains.

""Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?" Pelley asks.

"We don't torture people," Tenet says.

"Water boarding?" Pelley asks.

"We do not -- I don't talk about techniques," Tenet replies.

"It's torture," Pelley says.

Good for Pelley. Notice that when he asks specifically about water boarding -- the process in which a prisoner is blindfolded, mouth covered with a cloth, held down horizontally and forced to endure buckets of water poured over the entire head, to simulate drowning -- Tenet catches himself in the middle of his talking point to say "I don't talk about techniques". That's where his entire performance falls apart, because everyone knows that water boarding is, indeed, considered torture. It's why the Geneva Conventions outlaw it. You remember the "quaint" Geneva Conventions that the pathetically incompetent Alberto Gonzales referred to at a Congressional hearing. Speaking of Gonzales: A group of high-ranking former intelligence officials sent a letter to Tenet on Saturday, basically telling him that he is so full of raw sewage he reeks -- and then they compare him to Gonzales.

You showed a lack of leadership and courage in January of 2003 as the Bush Administration pushed and cajoled analysts and managers to let them make the bogus claim that Iraq was on the verge of getting its hands on uranium.   You signed off on Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations.  And, at his insistence, you sat behind him and visibly squandered CIA's most precious asset—credibility."   

You may now feel you were bullied and victimized but you were also one of the bullies.  In the end you allowed suspect sources, like Curveball, to be used based on very limited reporting and evidence.  Yet you were informed in no uncertain terms that Curveball was not reliable.  You broke with CIA standard practice and insisted on voluminous evidence to refute this reporting rather than treat the information as suspect.  You helped set the bar very low for reporting that supported favored White House positions, while raising the bar astronomically high when it came to raw intelligence that did not support the case for war being hawked by the president and vice president.

It now turns out that you were the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community--a grotesque mixture of incompetence and sycophancy shielded by a genial personality.  Decisions were made, you were in charge, but you have no idea how decisions were made even though you were in charge.  Curiously, you focus your anger on the likes of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice, but you decline to criticize the President.

They forcefully request that he donate half the proceeds from his book to the families of the Iraq War casualties. He won't do it, of course, because he is too busy seeking revenge against whoever leaked his legendary "slam dunk" proclamation to Bob Woodward. But just like Colin Powell, who could and should have stopped the insanity before the invasion ever took place, he is working to burnish his image. And just like Powell, he won't succeed. They are both damaged goods. But at least they're still alive -- unlike the 3,350 dead American soldiers and the 650,000 dead Iraqis. 

Posted by shoephone on April 30, 2007 at 01:39 AM in Iraq, Media, National and International Politics | Permalink


This is a pretty interesting part:

"Asked if anyone ever died in the interrogation program, Tenet says, 'No.'

Asked if he's sure of that, the former director tells Pelley, 'Yeah. In this program that you and I are talking about? No.'"

Ummmm - does that leave you wondering what was the "program" that George and Scott were discussing (all I heard him mention was torture) and how did it differ from other programs where people did die?

And re: the "post 9/11" spew, people probably would have understood someone going a bit nuts right after 9/11, but these people were disappeared and held for YEARS in black holes. At a certain point, a days, weeks, months, YEARS you can't continue to use your initial mindless, panicked reaction to justify continued black hole detention.

And using that panic is not really needed if you didn't torture - or use proxies to torture. Like the Arar torture. And if they won't tell us anything, even when we are questioning and NOT TORTURING as Tenet claims, then how does the "not torture" help when faced with:

"'Cause these are people that will never, ever, ever tell you a thing. These are people who know who’s responsible for the next terrorist attack. These are hardened people that would kill you and me 30 seconds after they got out of wherever they were being held and wouldn’t blink an eyelash,' Tenet says. 'You can sit there after, you can sit there five years later, and have this debate with me, all I'm asking you to do, walk a mile in my shoes when I'm dealing with these realities.'"

Yeah - these hardened people who won't tell you anything suddenly respond to enhanced interrogation, but even with that sudden response, we have to have years of black site disapppearing of them and oh yeah, these hardened people like Maher Arar and el-Masri end up telling you all the good stuff you need to disrupt programs and save lives. Like Arar admitting to his "terrorist training." And hey, when guys like al-Libi can be proxy "non-tortured" to support Cheney's war beat, it's not like there are any negatives from that, are there.

What a weasel.

Posted by: Mary | Apr 30, 2007 2:36:48 PM

I think Tenet really expected to be greeted with rose petals for these revelations, not step into this bucket of poop. Poor misunderstood soul.

Posted by: op99 | Apr 30, 2007 9:01:56 PM

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