Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tenet Abbreviated

We read so you don't have to.

Here are some intriguing tidbits from George Tenet's new book, At the Center of the Storm:

P. xix-xx -- On the morning after 9/11, CIA director George Tenet was walking into the West Wing and passed neocon Richard Perle, then the head of the Defense Policy Board, who was leaving. "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday," Perle tells Tenet. "They bear responsibility." Tenet writes that he thought, "What the hell is [Perle] talking about?" Then Tenet wondered who had Perle been meeting with in the White House so early on this particular morning. "I never learned the answer to that question?" he says. So much for the intelligence-gathering powers of the director of central intelligence.

P. 6 -- After President Bill Clinton nominated National Security Adviser Tony Lake to be CIA chief in 1997, Senator Richard Shelby, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, asked Tenet, who then was second in command at the CIA, "If you have any dirt on Tony Lake, I sure would like to have it."

P. 15 -- In reviewing the troubling times the CIA went through in the 1990s, Tenet writes, "The Agency had also been rocked by false allegations in 1996 that some of its members had been complicit in selling crack cocaine to children in California. The allegations were ludicrous." This allegations was indeed unfounded. But Tenet fails to mention that the CIA's inspector general subsequently released two reports disclosing that the agency had worked with suspected drug traffickers when it supported the contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

P. 154 -- Weeks before 9/11, Steve Cambone, the undersecretary of defense (and another neocon), asked Tenet if he had, as Tenet writes, "considered the possibility that al-Qa'ida's threats were just a grand deception, a clever ploy to tie up our resources and expend our energies on a phantom enemy that lacked both the power and the will to carry the battle to us." Tenet adds: "Steve wasn't alone. [Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz was raising the same question." Tenet doesn't explain why Wolfowitz and Cambone took this position. The reason: before 9/11, some neocons were obsessed with the farfetched notion that Saddam Hussein posed the only significant terrorist threat to the United States and that al Qaeda was no more than a distraction.

Pp. 157-159 -- On 9/11, Tenet told Vice President Dick Cheney that he believed al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks hours before he conveyed this information to President George W. Bush.

P. 275 -- In the summer of 2003, Tenet met with Bush to discuss Russia's involvement in the war on terrorism. "The president was unusually pensive," Tenet writes. Unusually pensive?

P. 301 -- Tenet writes, "One of the great mysteries to me is exactly when the war in Iraq became inevitable." This is the man who was in charge of the entire US intelligence establishment.

P. 305 -- Within the Bush administration, Tenet recounts, there was "never a serious debate...about the imminence of the Iraqi threat....Nor was there ever a significant discussion regarding enhanced containment or the costs and benefits of such an approach versus full-out planning for overt and covert regime change." And Bush went to business school?

P. 308 -- Tenet writes that in none of the prewar meetings of top administration officials was there "a discussion of the central questions. Was it wise to go to war? Was it the right things to do?"

P. 310 -- In September 2002, Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy (and, yes, another neocon), told a Berlin gathering of U.S. British, French and German officials that war with Iraq "is not optional." In a cable Feith sent to the CIA he quoted himself: "At stake is the survival of the United States as an open and free society."

P. 319 -- At a September 14, 2002 meeting in the White House Situation Room, Bob Walpole, the national intelligence official for strategic programs, remarked that he would not use WMDs to justify an invasion of Iraq. In response Scooter Libby commented to another meeting participant, "Who is this guy?"

P. 332 -- Tenet writes, "Even with more time, could analysts have concluded that Saddam had no weapons programs, or even the ability to quickly surge to produce the weapons themselves? I doubt it? In retrospect, we got it wrong partly because the truth was so implausible." Perhaps. It's damn hard to prove a negative. But that's not the point. A clear-eyed review of the intelligence the CIA possessed in 2002 and 2003 would have indicated that there was no firm evidence that Saddam possessed WMDs. That is what the Bush administration and the CIA should have acknowledged at the time.

P. 356 -- After the invasion of Iraq, US forces gathered and reviewed massive treasure troves of Iraqi documents. "Time and again," Tenet writes, " documents that were supposedly produced in the early 1990s [that contained information tying Iraq to al Qaeda] turned out to be forgeries. CIA officers interviewed Iraqi intelligence officers in Baghdad who also discounted the authenticity of the documents. It was obvious that someone was trying to mislead us. But these raw, unevaluated documents that painted a more nefarious picture of Iraq and al-Qa'ida continued to show up in the hands of senior administration officials without having gone through normal intelligence channels." Seems as if someone had mounted a disinformation project to justify the war. Who could that have been? Not Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraq National Congress, right?

P. 419 -- "Time and again," Tenet writes, "during the months leading up to the invasion and for months thereafter, the representatives of the vice president and Pentagon officials would introduce ideas that were thinly veiled efforts to put Chalabi in charge of post-invasion Iraq."

P. 422 -- After the Coalition Provisional Authority set up shop in Iraq following the invasion, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice ordered the interagency committee overseeing postwar planning to disband.

P. 424 -- In January 2003, a CIA paper said that after an invasion, "Iraq would be unlikely to split apart, but a post-Saddam authority would face a deeply divided society with a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so."

P. 438 -- After a November 2003 White House meeting, during which a CIA official mentioned there was an ongoing insurgency in Iraq, Tenet recalls, the "message out of the Oval Office that day was, 'No one in this administration will make any reference to an insurgency.'"

P. 440 -- Tenet writes, "You had the impression that some Office of the Vice President and DOD reps were writing Chalabi's name over and over again in their notes, like schoolgirls with their first crush."

P. 446 -- At a White House meeting in the spring of 2004, the president declared, "I want Chalabi off the [U.S.] payroll." Bush's order was ignored by Condi Rice and the Pentagon.

Pp. 1-506 -- According to Tenet's account, Bush himself committed no specific mistakes.

Now you can wait for the paperback.

Posted by David Corn at May 2, 2007 06:21 PM


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- Nominate me for Director of Central Intelligence. I know nothing about the intelligence business but it is clear that that is not a requirement for the position...

David B. Benson said...

Oh yes. And thanks for the exerpts. Now I won't have to even buy the paperback...

micki said...

So, bush didn't make any specific mistakes?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. But either way, he made mistakes. He made particular mistakes. He made general mistakes. He willingly *made* mistakes. (Lied)

He's also told us he's the Decider, the Commander Guy -- he claims to call the shots.

Mistakes were made. He's in charge. He's responsible for the mistakes. Period.

Throw the no-good bum out.

I pray that Tenant's book is on the remainders table very, very soon.

capt said...

What a start today?

The Hippies Were Right! (about everything including free love) and The First Step to Action on Climate Change is Facing Its Reality which is clearly harder for some than others.

Vacations? During a war? - no not our politicians this time is it a little break from mess that is Baghdada. (as in dada) - If they want to take a few months off I think the timetable was a major problem for them.

Thanks Bunnypants - Let the Iraqi sycophants take two months off while our troops are dying - good show!


capt said...

Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of forecast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.S. ice expert said on Tuesday.

This means the ocean at the top of the world could be free or nearly free of summer ice by 2020, three decades sooner than the global panel's gloomiest forecast of 2050.

No ice on the Arctic Ocean during summer would be a major spur to global warming, said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Center in Colorado.

"Right now ... the Arctic helps keep the Earth cool," Scambos said in a telephone interview. "Without that Arctic ice, or with much less of it, the Earth will warm much faster."

That is because the ice reflects light and heat; when it is gone, the much darker land or sea will absorb more light and heat, making it more difficult for the planet to cool down, even in winter, he said.

Scambos and co-authors of the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used satellite data and visual confirmation of Arctic ice to reach their conclusions, a far different picture than that obtained from computer models used by the scientists of the intergovernmental panel.

"The IPCC report was very careful, very thorough and cautious, so they erred on the side of what would certainly occur as opposed to what might occur," Scambos said in a telephone interview.


*****end of clip*****

30 years AHEAD of predictions. Lucky that science is self-correcting.

Sadly everything else is not so inclined.


capt said...

Physicists Connect String Theory With Established Physics

String theory, simultaneously one of the most promising and controversial ideas in modern physics, may be more capable of helping probe the inner workings of subatomic particles than was previously thought, according to a team of Princeton University scientists.

The theory has been highly praised by some physicists for its potential to forge the long-sought link between gravity and the forces that dominate within the atomic nucleus. But the theory -- which posits that all subatomic particles are actually tiny "strings" that vibrate in different ways -- has also drawn criticism for being untestable in the laboratory, and perhaps impossible to connect with real-world phenomena.

However, the Princeton researchers have found new mathematical evidence that some of string theory's predictions mesh closely with those of a well-respected body of physics called "gauge theory," which has been demonstrated to underlie the interactions among quarks and gluons, the vanishingly small objects that combine to form protons, neutrons and other, more exotic subatomic particles. The discovery, say the physicists, could open up a host of uses for string theory in attacking practical physics problems.

"These problems include describing the interactions among the quarks within everyday atomic nuclei," said Igor Klebanov, the Thomas D. Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics at Princeton and an author of a recent paper on the subject. "We have previously been able to study these interactions in detail only at the high-energy conditions within particle accelerators, but with these findings we may be able to describe what's happening inside the atoms that make up rocks and trees. We cannot do so yet, but it appears that the math of string theory could be what we need to bridge this gap."


*****end of clip*****

One quick one for us nerds.


WTF said...

Gee, another administration official finally comes clean. What does he think that admission makes him any less culpable in the lead up to this misadventure in Iraq? Once again, it is a ho hum admission telling the public what they already knew or suspected. What's next? Oh yeah, he is flogging a book like all the rest of the rats on that ship. Who cares what he has to say now? It is too late for over 3500 of our soldiers. Damn them and one day hopefully there will be the First National Politician Hunt, with the first prize going to the one that bags one of the top three, or better yet a grand slam with one intrepid hunter getting all three. Might be a record there, and cheney would be the best because he obviously shoots first. Yep, can't wait and we should give the vets a free permit.

capt said...

'Lacking a national health system, "the U. S. occupies last place among the major industrialized countries ... in child mortality, life expectancy, and visits to the doctor," although it probably leads the world in politicians who talk about "family values."'
~ Paul Kennedy

capt said...

Moyers on Media's War Pt 3 [VIDEO]

Each day a new installment of the Bill Moyers special on how the press bought into the Bush Administration's war...

Part 1 is HERE.

Part 2 is HERE.


David B. Benson said...

Global warming? If each of us, man, woman and child sent 4.3 lb of carbon to the landfill each and every day then the carbon dioxide in the air would stop continuing to rise...

capt said...

From an email:


I never thought I would ever be in another Presidential campaign. But I watched as John and Elizabeth Edwards decided they would continue the fight to make a difference for our country. And it made me ask myself what I could do to make a difference.

If they could continue to fight-then how could I stay on the sidelines?

And with our troops in Iraq, how can any of us not do everything we can to bring them home?

We have joined John Edwards in his fight. He, our troops and our country need us now. Right now. Please do everything you can.

Joe Trippi
Back in the fight


I have a lot of respect for Joe Trippi. He is one of the smart guys. It might not mean much to some people but I am nearly certain Trippi IS sincere and THAT is rare these days.


capt said...

One Day You’re Gonna Wake Up


One day you’re gonna wake up and wished you’d invested a little more energy into monitoring and choosing the people who made monumental decisions on your behalf.

One day, with a flash of remorse greater than you thought it possible that one human vessel could contain, you’ll remember the ignored warning shots across your bow. Moments later, you’ll discover the human capacity for searing remorse is actually even greater still, as you contemplate your inattention even to the shots that were fired right through the bow. With a fury you would yesterday have thought yourself incapable of, you’ll hurriedly attempt to affix Band-Aids to the tattered splinters remaining from your country’s once sturdy hull. But you’ll learn quickly the toll of those years spent wasted in a civic coma. You’ll find that no amount of patchwork can any longer save this sinking ship from its appointment with the dustbin of history.

In shame, you’ll regret the callous arrogance with which you laughingly dismissed those who sounded the early clarion call. "We are destroying ourselves", they tried to tell you. But even on the rare occasion when you roused yourself from your stupor long enough to learn the slightest bit about the very threats that jeopardized your life and that of your species, still you found it more reassuring to follow the blustering worst amongst us, with their patently absurd pretended confidence, and their ever constant resort to the cheapest of false solutions, and the rudest of demeanors.

One day, you’ll desperately search for hope of any sort, but none will remain. Nothing will be left to save you.

One day you’ll realize that once there were solutions, but that that day is now long past. You’ll see that human technological capacity ran its evolutionary race with wisdom, and the latter came in second. You’ll sadly realize that you stood by while your country led the once great tool-making species to its own destruction.

One day you’re gonna wake up, America, and realize how far it’s all gone. But if that day isn’t very soon, it won’t matter.

Because one day you’re gonna wake up, and it will be far, far too late.


Gerald said...

Capt loses a cousin and our family dentist loses a sister-in-law. Words cannot do justice for a loss in the family so I went to a saying from the Capuchin Missions, 1820 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, Michigan 48207-3496.

We Shall Meet Again

If I should leave this world without a warning, and not even whisper a fond farewell, grieve not for one more message from the lips that God has stilled. But just remember me with love and prayers for my soul’s journey to that fair land beyond life’s tears. For I have believed with all my heart in its existence, and I know that God is good, for He has come to me through the life of Him whose very garment I have sought to touch. It may be lonely, and I hope you miss me just a little, because I have loved so deeply my own family and faithful friends.

Forgive me if I have ever hurt you and remember me for what I longed to be. Have faith that I am nearer than your dreams and fondest longings. For the God of love shall keep all kindred spirits close together, though the misty vale between this world and that to come. Keep us from each other’s sight, for a few precious moments. Whisper softly that you love me and it shall linger on within my soul until you come. Say not goodbye, for on some bright tomorrow we shall meet again!

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: May 3

capt said...

The losses are forever but in the same breath - My good friend had a new arrival yesterday. A bouncing baby boy!

The circle of life continues.

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."
~ George Santayana (1863 - 1952), Soliloquies in England, 1922, "War Shrines"


Gerald said...

Older Women’s Power

Women in what has been called the third age of a woman’s life – well-past 50, never married women, widows and married women and grandmothers – are more and more discovering their power for peace and justice.

Las madres de los desaparacidos, mostly mothers and grandmothers, have demonstrated regularly since the ’70s for the return of loved ones “disappeared” during the Argentine military junta’s 1976 – 1983 “dirty war.”

The 18 women, aged 59 to 91, some with walkers, one blind, another deaf, of the anti-Iraq war Granny Peace Brigade, tried to enlist with military recruiters in 2004. Arrested for disorderly conduct, the women were acquitted at their trial.

In Nepal, 50,000 mostly illiterate mothers delivered measles vaccine to clinics. Then they went door to door publicizing vaccinations.
Measles deaths dropped 90% in 2004.

Older women have a wisdom and a power that needs to be respected for the common good.

Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the right of all the destitute…judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8,9)

Cure society of age and gender bias, Lord.

Gerald said...

When Someone Is Ill…

When a friend or relative has to cope with a serious disease or injury, we need to support them – and their primary caregiver – as much as we can. These suggestions may help you:

Call before you visit. Stay alert to signs of fatigue, and keep visits short.

Be sincere in what you say and avoid false cheeriness. A hug or a pat on the arm may be more meaningful.

Send a note or card or call regularly, especially if the recovery is a long one.

Treat the patient as a person, not an illness.

Offer specific help to the patient and family, such as running errands, baby-sitting, giving a ride.

And pray for your suffering loved one, as well as the professionals, family and friends who are caring for him or her. Remember, God heals body, mind and spirit through His people.

Do not hesitate to visit the sick. (Sirach 7:35)

Divine Healer, touch Your suffering people and grant them wholeness and holiness.

Gerald said...

Taping a Life Back Together

One night during the days when Tom Mullen was drinking too much, he ripped up all the poems he had penned – and passed out.

While he was sleeping it off, his wife taped together his writings and put it in a shoebox. More than 30 years later, when Mullen’s wife died, he found that shoebox with the poems.

Life had turned around for Mullen in the years that followed that fateful night. And while finding the taped-together poems reminded him of those dark days, they also helped him remember his wife’s great love – a love that had also pieced together his lost heart.

Even when life is in tatters and hope fades, the knowledge that one is loved by God and by one special person can restore hope and give us the strength to pick up the pieces and go on in our life.

(Jesus) told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost…When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.” (Luke 15:3-4,5)

Merciful Savior, please do not let me forget that You love me and will always search for me when I stray from You.

capt said...

For years now, has declined to call for impeachment, saying that they didn't think their members wanted it. Then again, they never asked.

Well, as part of the growing momentum for impeachment, MoveOn has finally stepped up to the plate and is asking the American people "Do you think Congress should impeach President Bush?"

This is a one-question yes/no poll that will take ten seconds of your time. Take the MoveOn impeachment poll, and then forward this e-mail far and wide.

With more than three million members and vast financial resources, MoveOn has the power to alter the entire debate on impeachment. This may be one of the most important polls you will ever take on the issue. MoveOn needs to hear from everybody today!

From an email

David B. Benson said...

Today's TNYT has an opinion piece from a law professor pointing out that Gonzo is impeachable...

capt said...

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