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Tenet's Amazing Testimony

Thursday, 07 February 2002 12:00 AM

The appearance and testimony were telling in several respects.

First, this was Tenet's first appearance before Congress since Sept. 11 – nearly five months ago!

His testimony should have demonstrated executive branch accountability to the people's Congress.

But doesn't accountability demand it take place in a timely manner?

And judging by the relatively easy treatment Tenet got from the Senate committee, I must conclude that our senators and congressmen are very reluctant to demand accountability from organizations like the CIA, the FBI and others empowered to protect us.

Of course, this is just not Congress' responsibility. President Bush should have changed CIA directors soon after 9-11.

Tenet may be a good man. His supporters say he held the agency together under the most difficult of environments with the Clintons in charge.

But by keeping Tenet in charge, Bush has telegraphed a bad message to the CIA and other federal bureaucracies.

Though Tenet has many congressional admirers, both Republican and Democrat, his handling of their gentle questions demonstrated a lack of candor and interest in reform.

Asked why the CIA didn't prevent Sept. 11, he said that while the agency knew of al-Qaeda’s terrorist activity, the Sept. 11 plot was not identified because it was held only "in the heads of three or four people.”

Perhaps I'm dreaming, but weren’t there 19 terrorists who acted on Sept. 11?

Doesn't the government have another suspected terrorist in custody who was part of the same ring?

Weren't there countless operatives of al-Qaeda who provided the planning and logistics for the attacks?

Had the CIA infiltrated al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks, it may well have caught wind of the plan.

But under rules demanded by some in Congress and promulgated by the Clinton White House, the CIA was restricted in recruiting terrorist spies.

I would have looked more favorably on Tenet if he had appeared before Congress and said, "We made serious mistakes. The policies that led to the intelligence failures of Sept. 11 were written by others. I was ordered to enforce these policies. I disagreed with them. We are making reforms to protect Americans and to do our job.”

Instead, Tenet rejected any notion the CIA had failed on Sept. 11.

Tenet made headlines by saying he expects another major terrorist act against the U.S. in the next year.

On this prediction Tenet is right.

If we keep living fairy tales about the Clintons and the CIA’s culpability in Sept. 11, we no doubt should expect another attack.

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The appearance and testimony were telling in several respects. First, this was Tenet's first appearance before Congress since Sept. 11 - nearly five months ago! His testimony should have demonstrated executive branch accountability to the people's Congress. But doesn't...
Tenet's,Amazing,Testimony
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2002-00-07
Thursday, 07 February 2002 12:00 AM
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