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Graduate of the University of Oregon, Married for 4-1/2 years to my High School sweetheart. I am currently residing in Cleveland while I attend med school.

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    Monday, April 30, 2007

    Tenet's Tenuously Tall Tale

    Today, George Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm, hits bookshelves throughout the country. Within the pages of the book, Tenet seeks to exonerate himself of any culpability to any intelligence failures in the lead-up to the Iraq war. As readers will recall, Tenet - appointed by President Clinton - is best known for his "Slam Dunk" statement, informing President Bush that intelligence about WMD in Iraq was “a slam dunk case!” Now, Tenet is claiming that he never said those words. Or, if he said them, he didn't mean them in this context. Yeah, something like that.

    Unfortunately for Tenet, the memories of most of us is somewhat better, and the details of events is not so easily forgotten. Mr. Tenet seems to be forgetting that he has already confirmed that he said these words, and has already, seemingly, claimed responsibility for the error:
    George J. Tenet, former director of central intelligence, said he regretted assuring President Bush in 2002 that he had ''slam dunk'' evidence that Iraq had unconventional weapons. ''Those were the two dumbest words I ever said,'' Mr. Tenet told 1,300 people at a Kutztown University forum Wednesday in Kutztown, Pa. The theory was a leading justification for the war in Iraq. Such weapons were not found.
    While Mr. Tenet may wish he never said those words, his own statements indicate otherwise.

    Yet, this is not the only inconsistency in his book. In order to further shift the blame, Tenet indicates that the decision to go to war with Iraq had already been made only hours after 9/11.
    On the day after 9/11, he [Tenet] adds, he ran into Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative and the head of the Defense Policy Board, coming out of the White House. He says Mr. Perle turned to him and said: "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. They bear responsibility."

    He confirmed this encounter on 60 minutes last night. Yet, according to Richard Perle, this conversation never happened. In fact, it couldn't have happened, because Perle was stranded in France on 9/12, and unable to return until 9/15!
    Did Tenet perhaps merely get the date of this encounter wrong? Well, the quote Tenet ascribes to Perle hinges on the encounter taking place September 12: "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday."
    Perle denies the encounter. The facts discredit the claim. If Tenet merely got the date wrong, it contradicts his quote. If he made up the encounter and manufactured the quote, it explains everything.

    While President Bush has been charged with misleading us and making up his own facts, it would appear that these charges are somewhat misdirected. George Tenet clearly has difficulty with the truth.

    Cross Posted at


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