George John Tenet

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George John Tenet resigned abruptly on June 3, 2004, as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Tenet left July 11, 2004, the seventh anniversary since his swearing in, reportedly "for personal reasons. The CIA officials denied that Tenet quit or was pressured to leave." [1] [2]

The New York Times says that Bush's announcement of Tenet's resignation was made "in a way that was almost bizarre." Bush "had just addressed reporters and photographers in a fairly innocuous Rose Garden session with Prime Minister John Howard of Australia. Then the session was adjourned, as Mr. Bush apparently prepared to depart for nearby Andrews Air Force Base and his flight to Europe, where he is to take part in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion and meet European leaders — some of whom have been sharply critical of the campaign in Iraq.

"But minutes later," the Times reports, "Mr. Bush reappeared on the sun-drenched White House lawn, surprising listeners with the news of Mr. Tenet's resignation."

The Associated Press announced that Tenet, "who weathered storms over intelligence lapses about suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has resigned" and "Deputy DCI John E. McLaughlin will serve temporarily "until a successor is found. [3]

The AP's Pete Yost writes: "Tenet had been under fire for months in connection with intelligence failures related to the U.S.-led war against Iraq, specifically assertions the United States made about Saddam Hussein's purported possession of weapons of mass destruction, and with respect to the threat from the al-Qaida terrorist network.

"In May," he writes, "a panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks released statements harshly criticizing the CIA for failing to fully appreciate the threat posed by al-Qaida before the terrorist hijackings. Tenet told the panel the intelligence-gathering flaws exposed by the attacks will take five years to correct.

"During his seven years at the CIA, speculation at times has swirled around whether Tenet would retire or be forced out, peaking after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and surging again after the flawed intelligence estimates about Iraq's fighting capability," Yost writes. "Even when his political capital appeared to be tanking, Tenet managed to hang on with what some say was a fierce loyalty to Bush and the CIA personnel. A likable, chummy personality, also helped keep him above water."

However, Yost says, "Conventional wisdom had been that Tenet, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, did not plan to stay on next year, no matter who won the White House. Tenet has been on the job since July 1997, an unusually lengthy tenure in a particularly taxing era for the intelligence community that he heads."

William Branigan adds in the June 3, 2004, The Washington Post that "The timing of Tenet's resignation came as a surprise in Washington, and its rationale was greeted with a measure of skepticism."

After his resignation, Tenet opined that the Internet "represents a potential Achilles' heel for our financial stability and physical security if the networks we are creating are not protected." .[4]

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Reaction

"So four more years? Why do I say all this? I say all this because I am more frightened now than at any time over the last three and a half years, that this administration will resort to extra-legal methods to do something to ensure that there are four more years for George Bush. And John Ashcroft’s statement last week, gratuitous statement, uncoordinated with the department of, CIA, with the Department of Homeland Security, his warning that there is bound to be a terrorist strike before the US elections. That can be viewed and this can be reasonably viewed as the opening salvo in the justification for doing, taking measures to ensure that whatever happens in November comes out so that four more years can be devoted to maybe changing that war crimes act or protecting at least these vulnerable people for four more years."

Profiles

Disclaimer: George Tenet's biography has been removed from the CIA's website. The following information on Tenet was present on the site's bio before removal.

George J. Tenet was sworn in as the current Director of Central Intelligence on July 11, 1997, "following a unanimous vote by both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the full Senate. In this position he heads the Intelligence Community (all foreign intelligence agencies of the United States) and directs the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)."[5]

Tenet served as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (confirmed July 1995). In December 1996, following the departure of John Mark Deutch as DCI, Tenet served as Acting Director.

Tenet's government career includes having previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council (NSC). At the NSC, he "coordinated Presidential Decision Directives on Intelligence Priorities, Security Policy Coordination, US Counterintelligence Effectiveness, and US Policy on Remote Sensing Space Capabilities. He also was responsible for coordinating all interagency activities concerning covert action.[6]

Prior to serving at the NSC, Tenet served on President William Jefferson Clinton's national security transition team, where he coordinated the evaluation of the US Intelligence Community. Tenet also served as Staff Director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for over four years under the chairmanship of Senator David Boren. "In this capacity he was responsible for coordinating all of the Committee's oversight and legislative activities including the strengthening of covert action reporting requirements, the creation of a statutory Inspector General at CIA, and the introduction of comprehensive legislation to reorganize US intelligence."[7]

Prior to being appointed Staff Director, Tenet "directed the Committee's oversight of all arms control negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States, culminating in the preparation of a report to the US Senate on The Ability of US Intelligence to Monitor the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty." In August 1985, Tenet came to the Committee as designee to the Vice Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy following three years on the staff of Senator John Heinz "as both a legislative assistant covering national security and energy issues and as legislative director."[8]

Tenet holds a B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.I.A. from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University. He is a native of New York.[9]

Published Works

  • "At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA", HarperCollins, April 30, 2007 (Hardcover), ISBN-10: 0061147788 / ISBN-13: 978-0061147784; HarperLuxe; Largeprint edition, April 30, 2007, ISBN-10: 0061234419 / ISBN-13: 978-0061234415.

Resources and articles

External articles

General

1997

  • CIA Facelift, George Tenet interview with Jim Lehrer (transcript), PBS OnLine NewsHour, March 19, 1997.

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2007