Ex-C.I.A. Chief Tenet: Iraq War Was Wrong

Friday, 22 October 2004 00:57 by: Anonymous

Also see below:     
Tenet: CIA Made Errors    [

    Exclusive for Local Reporter: Ex-C.I.A. Chief Tenet Comes to Town
    Editor & Publisher

    Thursday 21 October 2004

    New York - The guest speaker was famous, and he was visiting a small town far from the spotlight of network TV cameras and the reach of big-name reporters from national newspapers. In other words: It was a perfect scenario for a local reporter to snag an exclusive. And Anna Clark, 24, correspondent for The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph, Mich., was there to grab it.

    Addressing the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Wednesday night, George Tenet, former director of central intelligence, called the war on Iraq "wrong," according to Clark's article on Thursday, although it was unclear whether he meant the war itself or mainly the intelligence it was based on.

    Tenet also said that the Iraq war was "rightly being challenged," but the CIA was making important strides toward success in the greater war on terrorism, according to the reporter.

    Tenet added that while the CIA boasts "tremendously talented men and women," the agency "did not live up to our expectations as professionals" regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the search for WMDs in Iraq, according to Clark.

    "We had inconsistent information, and we did not inform others in the community of gaps in our intelligence," Tenet said, with surprising frankness, as recorded by Clark, who recently covered a speech by Paul Bremer before the same group. "The extraordinary men and women who do magnificent work in the CIA are held accountable every day for what they do, and as part of keeping our faith with the American people, we will tell you when we're right or wrong."

    Tenet spoke before 2,000 members of The Economic Club at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center.

     In a wide-ranging speech, and in a Q & A afterward, he said the United States is "winning the war on terror" due to the CIA's efforts to "capture or kill" three-quarters of al-Qaida's leaders, and that he expects to see Osama bin Laden captured.

    As for the regime of Saddam Hussein: "I believed he had weapons of mass destruction. He didn't. At the end of the day I have to stand up accountable for that. In the meantime our nation needs to honor the commitment we made in Iraq."

    Just this week, news emerged that Tenet had been appointed a professor at Georgetown University.

 


    Go to Original

    Tenet: CIA Made Errors
    By Anna Clark
    The Herald Palladium

    Thursday 21 October 2004

    Benton Township - Although he emphasized that the Central Intelligence Agency boasts "tremendously talented men and women," former CIA Director George Tenet said it "did not live up to our expectations as professionals" regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    "We had inconsistent information, and we did not inform others in the community of gaps in our intelligence," Tenet said. "The extraordinary men and women who do magnificent work in the CIA are held accountable every day for what they do, and as part of keeping our faith with the American people, we will tell you when we're right or wrong."

    Tenet called the war on Iraq "wrong" in a speech Wednesday night to 2,000 members of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center. He did not elaborate.

    Despite proclaiming to be "as forthcoming as I can," Tenet made light of a question about whether or not the United States made an error in committing intelligence to the search for nonexistent WMDs in Iraq rather than exploring terrorism elsewhere.

    Tenet apologized for being rude but did not answer the question.

    He did add that he doesn't think the Iraq war was wholly bad.

    "When I look at the regime (Saddam Hussein) ran, and the elaborate depth he took to deny us the ability to build our intelligence, I can't say it was a waste," Tenet said. "I believed he had weapons of mass destruction. He didn't. At the end of the day I have to stand up accountable for that. In the meantime our nation needs to honor the commitment we made in Iraq."

    Tenet was faulted in April's 9/11 Commission report for not having a strategy to battle terrorism before the terrorist attacks. He also took responsibility for a later discredited line in President George Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, which alleged that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa. Tenet said the CIA had seen and approved the speech in advance, and he assumed responsibility for the error.

    Tenet said that while the Iraq war was "rightly being challenged," the CIA was making important strides toward success in the greater war on terrorism.

    He said the United States is "winning the war on terror" due to the CIA's efforts to "capture or kill" three-quarters of al-Qaida's leaders, pinpointed before 9/11. He expects to see Osama bin Ladin captured.

    Tenet highlighted places throughout the world, including Iran and North Korea, that are potential terrorism threats, while commending the cooperation of Pakistan and Libya with U.S. efforts.

    He said the Pakistani president "came to our side" after 9/11 and allowed for important al-Qaida captures in a nation the terrorist organization once considered safe. Libya initiated contact with the CIA and explicitly committed to dismantling its weapons program - the first time any such program was self-dismantled without a shot being fired, Tenet said.

    "Demographics and distribution trends are something we also need to keep an eye on," Tenet said. "The developed world is not reproducing at levels to maintain its position, while developing nations who cannot afford it, mostly Muslim ones, are exploding."

    Tenet said a developing nation's low per capita income, high unemployment among young men and high infant mortality rate strongly increase its likelihood of becoming a "terrorist safe haven."

    "In 2010, 100 million people outside of Africa will be infected with HIV," Tenet said. "The secondary implications of this are staggering."

    He said the work of public health officers, missionaries and literacy teachers in third world nations are crucial to the war on terrorism, because terrorists build supporters by spinning poverty as a form of humiliation caused by wealthy nations like the United States.

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