George Tenet

John Brennan is the best nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency in a generation--alas. The best of a bad lot.


Martin Peretz discusses American foreign policy in the Middle East in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death.


The dispatch is from Reuters. And the dateline is Wonderland. Flush with success in turning Iran away from nukes and Syria away from Tehran, the administration seems to be setting its sights on turning Hezbollah away from Hezbollah. If this is truly the goal of the administration, look for an another spectacular humiliation. No, worse: It will be a spectacular self-abasement. After all, there’s no evidence that the Lebanese terror fraternity is looking to become mild and modest.


The Battle for Tora Bora

Four days before the fall of Kabul in November 2001, Osama bin Laden was still in town. The Al Qaeda leader’s movements before and after September 11 are difficult to trace precisely, but, just prior to the attacks, we know that he appeared in Kandahar and urged his followers to evacuate to safer locations in anticipation of U.S. retaliation. Then, on November 8, he was in Kabul, despite the fact that U.S. forces and their Afghan allies were closing in on the city.


President Obama designated George Mitchell his special envoy to the Jews and the Arabs because he had experience with them. Of course, Mitchell's familiarity with the Middle East was the familiarity of utter failure. No matter. Obama couldn't have sent George Tenet again ... or, God forbid, Anthony Zinni.


You've all read about the CIA report which faults George Tenet for leaving the country unprepared for 9/11. I'm a little skeptical of "blame one person" analyses of such enormous disasters. But certainly neither Bill Clinton nor George Bush left Tenet alone to do the really important intelligence and defense-intelligence work that we knew since at least 1996 (and even earlier) had to be done with regard to Islamic terrorism. Clinton, as everyone knows, had this fixation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his ambitions for a Nobel Prize by solving it.


George Tenet: "the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community--a grotesque mixture of incompetence and sychophancy shielded by a genial personality." Here's the story.

Tenet Explains

According to Jonathan Schwarz, George Tenet's book has something to say about the Downing Street Memos on Iraq, which quoted a British spy chief as saying that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." It turns out the official was misquoted. What he really meant to say was that the Vice President's office was "playing fast and loose with the evidence." Glad we cleared that up. --Bradford Plumer

Apparently George Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, is going to say that George Bush's misuse of Tenet's "slam dunk" phrase on Iraq ruined his reputation and ended his career. Tenet will give his whiny narrative to CBS' "Sixty Minutes" this coming Sunday, according to a report in today's Drudge Report. This from the guy who Bush kept on after the costliest and most severe intelligence failure in US history--9/11. That's what (should have) ruined his reputation and his career.



Surry Hill. So reads a plaque at the end of the long, winding private road that leads to the crown jewel of McLean, Virginia: the 18,000-square-foot mansion that Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers and his wife Edwina call home. To get there from Washington, you drive across the Potomac River and along a parkway that, in the summer, is canopied by lush green trees. Shortly before the guarded entrance to the CIA, you turn off McLean's main road and then down a private lane, passing through brick gate posts adorned with black lanterns and into a grand cul-de-sac. A massive brick Colonial with majestic