Thursday, June 3, 2004
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (1)
Open Tenet thread
CIA director George Tenet has resigned. The New York Times' David Strout reports on the unusual nature of the White House announcement:
NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez considers (but dismisses) anti-Bush political motivations.
Readers are invited to speculate on the causes and implications of Tenet's departure. My quick answers are a) the devastating portrayal of Tenet in Woodward's Plan of Attack, and b) nothing significant.
posted by Dan on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM
Tenet gone for two reasons,
This is why his critics wanted him gone, and he should have been fired as soon as the WMD thing became crystal clear (half a year ago). The awkward timing and manner suggest that Tenet was definitely becoming a liability. Whether this is "politics" or not is a different matter I guess. But you gotta wonder why it took *this* long.
However, now the fun ought to begin. Who is next? We have Rummy/Feith implicated in outright ignoring the Geneva Conventions. We have a high level neo-nut (very limmited number of people this can be) who passed on intel the Chalabi, who then passed it on to Iran. And we now have Bush consulting a lawyer regarding the Plame matter and a report from sources (reliable?) suggesting some witnesses to the Grand Jury have implicated Bush knew about the leak beforehand.
Personally, I'd be happy with seeing Libby, Cheney, and Rummy all fired in the next two weeks, or leaving for "personal reasons". My personal guess is Rummy is next, cause just like Tenent, he's doing a "superb-job".
posted by: Jor on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
The timing of this makes b) unlikely.
And he won't get a book ready (nor approved) in time for hot pre-election sales.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Word I'm getting suggests he'd been planning on quitting come January, in any event. I've been hearing this for many weeks now.
Click here for a special flash tribute to George Tenet.posted by: justin @ RSR on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
My personal opinion is that it was just time. I think Bush made every effort to back him (even to his own detriment). That being said, Tenet had to see the writing on the wall. More and more incidences of intelligence failures are coming to light and its really no longer feasible for Tenet to remain or Bush to allow him to do so.
With politics being what they are there is no exceptable censure or rebuke that will satisfy the critics. Resignation seems to be the only coarse of action. One strike, you're out!posted by: David on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Why did he resign? Who knows?
Maybe you should ask number six.posted by: uh_clem on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
I think that the Ahmed Chalabi flap was George Tenet’s last straw. The liberals within the CIA have been trying to slime the former gentleman for years. Also, where was Tenet when the silly Valerie Plame nonsense erupted. Common sense dictates that this was merely a liberal manufactured outrage. The CIA liberals are out of control. Tenet was hesitant to confront these clowns. After all, he was a Clinton appointee.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
The Liberal media making stuff up again:
"NEWSWEEK has learned that the National Security Agency first uncovered evidence indicating Chalabi’s possible compromises of U.S. intelligence and sent a criminal referral to the FBI requesting an investigation into the alleged leak to Iran. A similar referral was sent to the FBI by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which until recently was responsible for managing Pentagon payments to Chalabi’s group and for supervising its intelligence-collection efforts.posted by: Jussi Hämäläinen on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Ahmed Chalabi may be a con man. I’m not sure what to make of him. Still, many people who I respect believe that he is getting a raw deal. The Valerie Plame idiocy is virtually beyond dispute. The statutes pertaining to outing a CIA secret agent are very specifically restricted to the Philip Agee types. Common sense dictates that Ms. Plame had not been a clandestine officer for a number of years. And yet, George Tenet said nothing publicly. The only valid conclusion is that the “establishment” CIA folks are out to destroy President Bush. It’s time to clean house.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
What do I mean by “establishment” CIA folks? These individuals are both Democrats and Republicans. They have, however, one thing in common: they are Arabists. Robert Kaplan’s book, The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite, is a must read. They have complete contempt for Bernard Lewis. Israel is supposedly the most important reason why the militant Muslims are so upset. Everything would essentially be fine in the Middle East if only Ariel Sharon and the Likud Party were marginalized.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Beats the heck outta me, all I know is that GWB has been pissing direcly on the CIA for the past three years, and now refers to Tenet as "a strong and able leader" and (his inept redunancy not mine): "a strong leader in the war on terror" whom he will miss.
Is it too much for the government worshippers among you to consider that Tenet was asked to leave, to take the fall for all the screwups involved in the Iraq invasion?
There was a time (ca. 2002) where the president was discounting the CIA's intel for not being damning enough of Iraq, and siding with the DIA's more eager intel. Now he blames all the intel problems in Iraq on the CIA. Go figure.
Besides, aren't Tenet and Greenspan the last remaining administration remnants of the Clinton era?posted by: Keith Tyler on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
The CIA liberals are out of control.
Dave, I don't know what I'd do without the humor you bring to me every single day. Keep it up.posted by: uh_clem on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Rush did that once - called the Taliban liberal. He was rifling off a slew of Taliban adjectives one afternoon, and "liberal" found its way in.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
All of the above. Things mostly don't happen for just one reason. Although we don't like to think of our kings and queens as human, the pressure of the events has to take it's toll. Probably the biggest challenge was finding the proper gap in the news cycle to announce. From all accounts Mr. Tenet was a good man and capable leader. I will be discouraged (again) if he turns and does the anti-Bush book tour. You'd think that route was about tapped out and that the American public has had enough. Some great rants in these threads, no? How do we get to thinking what we think anyhoo? All too believeable, I guess. Hey Dave, militant Muslims hate Israel because they aren't militant Muslims. Marginalization is not their goal. Total annihilation is. Period!posted by: RD on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
“The CIA liberals are out of control.
You are right to rebuke me. My following comments were far more nuanced and precise. The reality is that many Arabists are conservative Republicans! It is foolish for me to describe this as merely an “out of control” liberal phenomenon.
“Hey Dave, militant Muslims hate Israel because they aren't militant Muslims. Marginalization is not their goal. Total annihilation is. Period!”
You are obviously a careless reader. I was talking about the Arabists and their fellow travelers---and not the Islamic militants. Allow me to make it real simple for everybody. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty. There is one question that is of paramount importance: what do you think of Bernard Lewis?posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
"I will be discouraged (again) if he turns and does the anti-Bush book tour. "
Can he even do this? That is, if he has any determination to use CIA materials for sourcing.
Wouldn't he have to get CIA clearance?
Wouldn't keep him from slamming Bush for other reason, like maybe a book of personally scathing limericks or haikus or something.posted by: Steve in Houston on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Who is an Arabist or one of their fellow conservative travelers? My guess is that the “Oldman” who often provides his insights on this very blog is such a person? Perhaps he can set me straight if I’m jumping to an invalid conclusion. Are they anti-Semitic? Not necessarily, but they will usually concede a harsh opinion concerning Ariel Sharon? Am I therefore asserting that anyone disagreeing with Sharon is somehow an anti-Semite, or even a self hating Jew? Not in the least. However, one must listen closely to this person’s explanation. There are good---and bad reasons to oppose Prime Minister Sharon. Many are indirectly declaring their contempt for the state of Israel.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
I doubt George Tenet is going to be slamming anyone anytime soon.
Although President Bush did allow his Defense Department and Office of the Vice President to run roughshod over some CIA reservations about the Iraq situation, Bush personally treated Tenet quite well. Too well, in the view of many, who wondered that the most devastating surprise attack on American soil in 60 years didn't even cost anyone in Washington his job.
My guess, and it is only that, is as follows: the 9/11 commission's Washington hearings are over and its final report has not been issued yet. If that report is critical of CIA, as it probably will be, it is a fair bet Tenet already knows what the criticism will be, and is stepping down now to avoid the perception that the report forced him out. Bush announced his departure the way he did to avoid having it leaked and generating another round of stories about White House disarray -- and also (what really goes without saying for this President) because announcing it in this way allowed him to avoid having to answer any questions from the press himself.
A final factor may be that Tenet really does have "personal reasons" for wanting to leave now. Those of us on the outside are prone to doubt that anyone in a powerful policymaking position would ever leave it except under professional duress, and plenty of people in Washington do their best to encourage that impression. But it isn't always the case.posted by: Zathras on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Carelessness abounds, Dave. Bernard Lewis' 1990 article is The Atlantic Monthly, The Roots of Muslim Rage is a very well presented argument. There's a lot of truth concerning how the deterioration of great Muslim societies and the continued "success" of our great country affects people throughout the globe. I'm not a student of all his work, so I'm sure you'll be able to produce some excerpt that reflects poorly on him. But any attempt to present a historic, scholarly argument concerning the relationships of major religions on this planet and it's ultimate impact on the survival of the human race can only leave one open equally to praise and scorn. Western Civilization reaching out to the Muslim fundamentalists can only make them hate us more. So if they can't pull themselves up, they must destroy us. To them, it's the only answer. We had better summon the wisest of those among us and figure this thing out, no matter who gets to sit at the seat of power on any given November, or our children's children will have a lot more than a mere deficit to deal with.posted by: RD on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
“Western Civilization reaching out to the Muslim fundamentalists can only make them hate us more. So if they can't pull themselves up, they must destroy us.”
Wow, you might be starting to get it! The two cultures, Western Civilization and radical Islamism, cannot coexist. One must be destroyed. I will opt for the destruction of the latter. Republicans who support President Bush embrace the central ideas of Bernard Lewis---and the Democrats are followers of Edward Said.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
"So if they can't pull themselves up, they must destroy us."
I think a big part of the problem is that these are one and the same. That is, a number of them believe they will pull themselves up BY destroying us.posted by: Steve in Houston on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Ok, Dave. Again, I'm a bit unarmed here, but I'll try. It seems that Said and Lewis are not necessarily polar opposites. From my brief exposure, Said seems to want to enter the argument at a later stage, and weigh heavier on the political side. Which makes sense, because the State of Israel and their struggles with Palestine are historically recent, the core of such history not withstanding. So we have two well respected scholars attempting with some success to unravel this incredible future blite to the existance of mankind, and we're offering up our weak shit on why an otherwise good human being, Mr. Tenet didn't quite get it right. Don't know how we could look smaller. Do you?posted by: RD on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
“From my brief exposure, Said seems to want to enter the argument at a later stage, and weigh heavier on the political side.”
The late Edward Said argued that the Islamic world is mostly the victim of Western imperialism. Bernard Lewis instead believes that too many Muslims are indulging in self-pitying scapegoating. I will take it one step further: the Muslims would have to invent Israel if that country never even existed! Israel is wrongly blamed for the plight of the Palestinians. The reality is that these people are victims of their own backward and reactionary culture. Needless to add, the Arabists are enraged when hearing people like myself tell the truth. They prefer to believe that the Arabs, and more specifically, the Palestinians are mere children undeserving of being judged as adults. The CIA people who despise President Bush, perhaps unwittingly, are on the side of Said. Those of us who are “neoconservatives” support the current occupant of the White House and believe that the Muslim world must be brought into the 21st Century. Which side are you on?posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
There is an 800 pound gorilla involved in this year’s presidential election that a lot of people are pretending to ignore: it is Israel. Listen carefully when some of these people say “Iraq.” They really mean Israel. Have you ever heard of a guy, for example, named Anthony Zinni?posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
There are only two kinds of people in this world, David. Those that think there are only two kinds of people, and those that don't think it's quite that simple. Our President has acted from the beginning like he has more hope than you, or else the Fertile Crescent would look like the Sea of Tranquility and not the faint glow of light currently flickering in this far off land. Keep reading, Dave. Not for snippets of your own beliefs, but for the salvation of reason from men like these true thinkers we've been skirmishing over. I support my president, and will support the next president and will certainly implore that our representatives follow the huge lead George Bush has established. Lay it on the line for the future of our countries. The tiara please.posted by: RD on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
The CIA pushed the outing of Plame, and Bush is getting a lawyer. Especially, Bush is getting a lawyer. Tenet in the head of the CIA.posted by: Jon Stopa on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Listen carefully when some of these people say “Iraq.” They really mean Israel.
Ok. Now I get it. So it was Israel who had the chemical, nuclear and biological WMD all along. Iraq was just a code word. How could I have missed it?posted by: uh_clem on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
I am not sure if the word "delusional" does some of you justice.posted by: Rich on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
From Bernard Lewis' The Roots of Muslim Rage:
Wise words -- but that was before he fell in love with an Iranian spy.posted by: Carl on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
DT; If what you're suggesting is that what arguments against our invasion of Iraq have popped up, are in fect defending the Arab world bent on the destruction of Israel, I'd say you have something there. The UnAmerican left, as an example, has long held the fantasy of Israel folding up shop, and their objections to our actions in the WOT could certainly be seen as an extension of that.
Hillary Clinton, ever the blithering idiot, has been repeatedly quoted as saying that Iraq was better off under SoDamn Insane. Do we reallythink the smartest woman in the world, in a senior moment, actually belives this, or is she pushing the idea for other reasons?
John Kerry, has repeatedly suggested turning the Iraq matter, and the WOT as a whole, for that matter, over to the UN. The UN, for it's part has been pounding the drum for the containment of Israel, trying to force her into deals which make her easier for the terrorists to pick off. Is it that Kerry is an idiot, or does he know that what he's on about will doom that area to a war which will see the end of Israel?
posted by: Bithead on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
“The UN, for it's part has been pounding the drum for the containment of Israel, trying to force her into deals which make her easier for the terrorists to pick off. Is it that Kerry is an idiot, or does he know that what he's on about will doom that area to a war which will see the end of Israel?”
The liberal wing of the Democrat Party prefers to believe that Israel is almost the sole reason for the anger of the Muslim world. Heck, I also wish it were that simple! The Democrats therefore inevitably demand that Israel give in more to the Palestinians. What in hell does this mean in the real world? Does anybody really believe that the settlements are truly that important? How silly can one get? No, nothing will be accomplished anywhere in the Middle East until the nihilistic radicals are either jailed or killed---and that is indeed a daunting task. The Muslim moderates must be able to dominate their societies without an usually high risk of being murdered.
Nobody in their right mind wants to agree with Bernard Lewis. It is much easier to go along with Edward Said. Unfortunately, I am compelled to embrace Lewis’ perspective. It's the adult thing to do.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
“But before this issue is decided there will be a hard struggle, in which we of the West can do little or nothing. Even the attempt might do harm, for these are issues that Muslims must decide among themselves.”
I completely agree with Bernard Lewis. We indeed “can do little.” We have invaded Iraq and provided these people with a fantastic opportunity. Now it’s up to them to make it work. Our only real interest is to prevent the nihilists from trying to kill us. Other than that---the reconstruction of Iraq is ultimately only their problem.posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
I've narrowed it down to one of seven reasons:
(Or maybe it's a combination of them.)posted by: Zach Everson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
In human life, a leader must emerge who can win others with his faith and make them happy. That is where leadership comes from. The same is true of nations. A nation and a race is called to make the others happy. One nation must rise above the others, and raise the others as well.
---or you are a liberal ready to destroy America!posted by: Robert Ley on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
*There are only two kinds of people in this world... Those that think there are only two kinds of people, and those that don't think it's quite that simple.*
“Couldn't it be that Islamist fundamentalists rose from the victimization of Western imperialism, and now use self-pitying scapegoating as their rationale for terror?”
Bernard Lewis claims that the Arab Muslim world chose to reject the modern agenda some 400-500 years ago. That’s long before the Europeans had any influence whatsoever in the Middle East.
I also found a new article by Victor Davis Hanson essentially agreeing with me regarding the liberals and the state of Israel:
“Israel? Most of us are tired of reading daily that Israel is making problems for us. It is a liberal democracy and currently in the throes of a national debate about whether to withdraw from a territory, Gaza, from which it was attacked in three wars. Its uniformed military targets terrorists; its main opponent's terrorists seek to kill civilians. We should have more confidence in its free press, elected officials, and voting citizenry to craft a humane policy — under threat of suicide murdering, no less — than in all the corrupt and fascistic regimes that surround it.”posted by: David Thomson on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
My intuition says that the timing of Tenet's resignation has more to with Chalabi somehow (insert any of at least half a dozen possible scenarios) than any other reason mentioned so far.
My wife told me last night that the head of CIA counter-intelligence is also resigning. This may or may not be related to Tenet's resignation.
IMO we won't learn, or possibly confirm, the real reason(s) for Tenet's resignation and its timing for years.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
uh_clem states: "Ok. Now I get it. So it was Israel who had the chemical, nuclear and biological WMD all along."
Uh, Israel does have nuclear weapons. One would imagine they have bio and chem weapons as well.
So what's your point?posted by: Rick Almeida on 06.03.04 at 02:03 PM [permalink]
Post a Comment: