Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thoughts on George Tenet's I'm A Victim Claim

George Tenet has recently written a book about his tenure in the CIA. The book is entitled, At the Center of the Storm. In the book, he describes how he was blamed for the pre-war intelligence gathering of Iraq and that he ultimately became a scapegoat for the administration.

While I agree with Tenet that he doesn't deserve all of the blame for CIA's failures, he does deserve some of the blame.

Everyone Was Wrong
Everyone in the world thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the United Nations, NATO -- you name it, they thought of it. Why? Because he used WMD against Iran and his own citizens, Iraqi Kurds. And because Saddam kept playing "bluff" to the world, rejecting inspectors over and over again.

Now what's the reason for the facade? He wanted to scare off his enemies, primarily Iran. He kept them in check. We know that now. But the majority of us didn't know back then (a handful of minority voices in the vast majority of the intelligence network had doubts about Saddam's WMD, but their voices weren't heard till more recently, after the fact).

Where Tenet Fits In
Tenet, in my humble opinion, succumbed to group mentality, or group think. Now what is group think? Wiki describes it as "...a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas." It affects all of us in one way, shape or form. That's part of life. We aren't perfect people.

No matter how he tries to deny it, he had a choice. He rubberstamped the intelligence reports that went to the American people. If he knew factual errors or had doubts about what he was reporting to the White House, there were plenty of opportunities to voice out his opinion (or resign in protest).

Tenet's book is largely an attempt to explain his role in the war and perhaps a way to convince historians down the road that he didn't play a major role in the pre-war foul up of intelligence.

Sounds like he wants a more gracious legacy than what it looks like now.

Former CIA officers respond
Want to know what ex-CIA employees think of Mr. Tenet's tenure? Review the letter they sent to him.

See the book below if you're interested in reading Tenet's defense of himself.

No comments: