June 03, 2004

Tenet's Resignation

I can't get excited by the Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan Tenet-resignation cheerleading.

Contra Sully, 9/11, in my estimation, can't be laid at his doorstep. Yeah, to be sure, it's a complex question with myriad variables at play. But putting 9/11 on Tenet's back is bunk.

Just as bad a canard, pretty much, as Richard Clarke pinning 9/11 on Bush. It smells, frankly, of cheap scapegoating tactics.

Ditto, if we are going to beat up Tenet on Iraq WMD--why aren't Glenn and Andrew taking, say, Dick Cheney to task?

If anything, people over at Cheney's shop reportedly wanted Tenet's guys to look at the intel a bit more aggressively--even though Tenet had already proclaimed Saddam's possession of WMD a "slam dunk."

Want to mock Tenet for his slam drunk pronouncement?

Well, pretty much every other intelligence service under the sun was caught flat-footed too, no?

And, of course, Saddam did have WMD-related programs, in various states of development, that were violative of the letter and spirit of 1441.

"Personal reasons"?

Wow, that's a tough one to swallow.

Like the President, I guess, I'm "sorry he's leaving."

Clarification: I wish I could buy that this was simply about Tenet wanting to spend more time with his high school aged kid (per his choking up at the Langley farewell address).

But, I suspect, this is more about Colin Powell getting in front of the U.N. (with Tenet behind him in the Security Council chamber) and talking up alleged bioweapon labs and such that ended up proving false.

What angers me, I guess, isn't that Tenet has to fall on his sword because his agency f*&%cked up. That's one of the reasons, in my view, that Rummy should have stepped down after Abu Ghraib.

What does get to me, however, is that people hyping intel more than Tenet are still, you know, on the November ticket and such. But hey, it's not the Veeps's beat. So Tenet takes the fall.

Still, we're all adults here. These are, roughly, the rules of the game.

You wanna friend in DC? Get a dog....

UPDATE: Capt'n Ed, while more generous than Glenn and Andrew, still depicts Tenet as some kind of moribund uber-bureaucrat who didn't have the requisite mojo.

That he wasn't a "wartime consigliere."

I'm a bit puzzled as to why Tenet is portrayed as lacking the requisite daring and moxie to have fulfilled his job at DCI.

What am I missing over here in London?


Capt'n Ed writes in:

"I guess what we feel over here is that Tenet is great at apologizing, but he gets too much practice at it. It's actually difficult to put my finger on the specific problem. I'm not one of the people who called for someone's head to roll after 9/11, mostly because I think that 9/11 was more of a political than intelligence failure. I think the "slam-dunk" WMD case, though, was an intelligence failure, and even though I believe they existed (and still do), it sounds like Tenet was cheerleading more than analyzing. The impression I get is a decent guy who spends a lot of time trying to maintain bipartisan fellowship.

I don't think that Tenet was a bad DCI, but I think that it's time to look for someone less interested in politics and more interested in mission. Again -- I'm presenting a voter's opinion, not an intelligence expert. I could well be wrong, but at least I've got company if I am."

Fair enough, though I think Tenet did much more analyzing than cheerleading. And if cheerleading Iraq related WMD intel is cause for applauding a resignation (whether volitional or requested); well, there are a lot of other people who were cheerleading the intel with more alacrity than the DCI.

And Brett Eagen writes in:

"I have a couple of thoughts on the next DCI. From the president's
statement, I gather that we will be waiting until after then election
for confirmation hearings, with DDCI McLaughlin at the helm. Fox News
has already touted Porter Goss as an excellent choice, and I believe he
is, but what do you think of Dick Armitage taking over? He has certainly
done a lot of heavy lifting over the past few years, knows how to stand
up to the neocon crowd (a valuable trait when the inevitable Intel
Community restructuring comes), and has a fairly deep background in
intel given some of his activities in SE Asia during the Vietnam wind
down. He breezed through confirmation for his current post, but that may
have been a Powell coat tail thing. Granted, there are a few skeletons
in his closet, but I think he would be an interesting choice. I would
love to hear your thoughts on this

I'm a big Armitage fan--and am not aware of any skeletons!

For the record, I think Porter Goss would be good too.

Posted by Gregory at June 3, 2004 03:34 PM
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