by Gordon Prather
does George John Tenet have in common with Mother Theresa and Pope
John Paul II? Well, all three are recipients of the Presidential
Medal of Freedom.
The Director of Central Intelligence under both Clinton and Bush
II? The DCI who "justified" Clinton's Operation Desert
Fox in 1998 and Bush's Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003? "Slam-Dunk"
that's the one.
you've wondered how Tenet got to be DCI in the first place.
Tenet was acting DCI in December 1996 when the absolutely mind-blowing
mishandling and misuse of highly classified data by departing DCI
John Deutch was discovered by horrified CIA investigators.
years, Deutch had been creating classified data files, on personal
computers at his homes and on portable memory cards. That was bad
enough. But many of these files were based upon "sensitive
compartmented information" and "Special Access Programs,"
and Deutch had reportedly shared this information via e-mail
with various "uncleared" White House officials.
law, Tenet was required to immediately notify the Justice Department
and to file a "crimes report." We now know Tenet didn't
file a "crimes report" until March 1998, and didn't get
around to telling Congress what Deutch had done until February 2000.
in December of 1997 a year after the Deutch "crimes"
had been discovered President Clinton appointed Deutch to
be co-chairman of the Commission to Assess the Organization of the
Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass
by then appointed DCI ignored the recommendations
of his own investigators and gave Deutch the high-level security
clearances he would need as co-chairman.
scroll back to 1995, when Tenet was deputy director of the CIA.
Hussein Kamal, director of Saddam's nuke and chem-bio weapons programs
(and also Saddam's son-in-law), had defected to Jordan, carrying
with him thousands of program documents.
was extensively debriefed by U.N. officials and by the CIA.
revealed that Iraq at his direction had already destroyed
all chemical and biological agents and weapons, including the missiles
to deliver them. The International Atomic Energy Agency had discovered
and destroyed what remained of the unsuccessful Iraqi nuke program.
Quoth Kamal, "nothing remained."
1998, the U.N. inspectors were able to verify to the U.N. Security
Council that Kamal had indeed told the truth. Whereupon several
members proposed that the "sanctions" imposed on Iraq
in 1991 be lifted.
Clinton refused to allow it, claiming he had "intelligence"
presumably provided by DCI Tenet to the contrary.
to the horror of the Security Council, Clinton launched Operation
Desert Fox, allegedly to destroy WMD sites hidden beneath Saddam's
the four-day bombing spree was an obvious attempt to assassinate
him, Saddam didn't allow U.N. inspectors to return to Iraq until
now know that President Bush had come into office looking for an
excuse to invade and occupy Iraq. When he went to Congress in September
2002, seeking "specific statutory authorization" to resume
the Gulf War, he based his case on the highly classified National
Intelligence Estimate of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs
prepared by Tenet.
reportedly contained "slam-dunk" proof that Saddam was
reconstructing his nuke and chem-bio programs, with the intention
of supplying them to Islamic terrorists for use against us.
Congress did give Bush the authority he sought for invading Iraq.
there was a catch. Before resorting to the use of force, Bush also
had to satisfy Congress that "reliance on peaceful means alone
will not adequately protect the national security of the United
By mid-March of 2003, Chairman Blix of the Monitoring and Verification
Commission and by Director-General ElBaradei of the International
Atomic Energy Agency were reporting after checking out many
of Tenet's alleged "WMD sites" that they could
find no "indication" that there had been any attempts
to reconstruct Iraq's WMD programs or facilities since 1991.
by mid-March, thanks to Blix and ElBaradei, Congress should have
known that every judgment and assumption in Tenet's NIE was wrong.
Saddam was not a threat to anyone, much less the United States.
Bush used Tenet's by then thoroughly discredited but still
top secret NIE as his justification for invading and occupying
his final day in office, President Clinton gave John Deutch a pardon
for the crimes he had committed as DCI.
week, President Bush gave George Tenet the Medal of Freedom. But
stay tuned. Tenet may get a pardon, too.
James Gordon Prather [send
him mail] has served as a policy-implementing official for national
security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency,
the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department
of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department
of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for
national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla.
ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the
Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather
had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory
in New Mexico.
© 2004 Gordon Prather