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June 6, 2004
Steyn: Why Was Tenet Still Around?

Mark Steyn writes a powerful indictment against the CIA and Congressional Democrats in his latest column on the resignation of George Tenet. Writing for the London Telegraph, the always-acerbic Steyn wonders why Tenet held off resigning so long after the debacle of 9/11 and even after it was made clear that the CIA had failed miserably to provide adequate intelligence to George Bush. Steyn focuses on the PDB for which the 9/11 Commission demanded declassification as his prime evidence:

Everything that is wrong with the agency was made plain a few weeks ago with the much-anticipated release of a classified CIA "Presidential Daily Brief" from August 6 2001. This was supposed to be the smoking gun which would reveal that Bush knew 9/11 was coming. It turned out to be far more damaging than that. It revealed somewhat carelessly that the CIA - the most sinister acronym in the world, the all-knowing spooks behind the dirty tricks in a thousand Hollywood thrillers - crib most of their info from television shows and foreign intelligence services.

Under the headline "Bin Ladin [sic] Determined To Strike In US", the most lavishly funded intelligence agency in the Western world led off its analysis with its top piece of "classified" "intelligence": "Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and 'bring the fighting to America'."

Terrific. Your crack CIA operative knows how to go into deep cover in his living room and pose as an average American couch potato by switching on the television. Then, just when the rest of the country is settling in for the Friends rerun, he surreptiously flips the remote to the Osama interview on CNN.

Steyn capsulizes all the reasons why Tenet's exit allows the US to fix its intelligence service, adapting it to the new threats we face, and how the necessary changes weren't likely to be made under Tenet. Read the whole thing.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 6, 2004 9:09 PM

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