Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 2021 SL770
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 737 Post(s)
Tenet: Bush Administration railroaded the country into war
George Tenet, the former CIA Director, broke three years of silence yesterday to attack the White House over Iraq, accusing the Bush Administration of railroading the country to war without ever holding a ‚Äúserious debate‚ÄĚ about whether Saddam Hussein posed a danger.
Mr Tenet was scathing about Dick Cheney and accuses the Vice-President of making him the scapegoat for the disaster that unfolded in Iraq.
Mr Tenet, CIA Director from 1997 until his resignation in July 2004, says the White House‚Äôs deliberately leaked and misinterpreted his use of the phrase ‚Äúslam dunk‚ÄĚ during a 2002 Oval Office meeting.
A White House official leaked an account of the meeting to the journalist Bob Woodward. According to this version, when Mr Bush asked Mr Tenet how sure he was that Saddam had illicit weapons, the CIA director ‚Äúrose up, threw his arms in the air [and said] ‚ÄėIt‚Äôs a slam dunk case‚Äô,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ a reference to an almost certain basketball scoring shot.
That version effectively ruined Mr Tenet‚Äôs reputation, making him a laughing stock in Washington.
Mr Tenet, who is promoting his 529-page memoir At the Centre of the Storm ‚ÄĒ and is clearly out to settle old scores ‚ÄĒ told CBS‚Äôs 60 Minutes that he only used ‚Äúslam dunk‚ÄĚ to say a better case could be made against Saddam, and the phrase was never a reference to weapons of mass destruction. Mr Tenet said that he does not know who leaked the phrase to Mr Woodward.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the most despicable thing that ever happened to me,‚ÄĚ Mr Tenet said. ‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt do this. You don‚Äôt throw somebody overboard. Is that honourable? It‚Äôs not honourable to me.
And the hardest part of all this has been just listening to this for almost three years, listening to the Vice-President on the fifth [anniversary] of 9/11 and say, ‚ÄėWell, George Tenet said ‚Äėslam dunk‚Äô. As if he needed me to say ‚Äėslam dunk‚Äô to go to war with Iraq.
‚ÄúI‚Äôll never believe that what happened that day informed the President‚Äôs view or belief of the legitimacy or the timing of this war. Never!‚ÄĚ
Mr Tenet says in his book that there was never ‚Äúa significant discussion‚ÄĚ in the White House about containing Iraq without an invasion. He says that Mr Cheney focused on Iraq in late 2001, when the CIA was still concentrating on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
For all his accusations against the White House, Mr Tenet was nevertheless a key member of Mr Bush‚Äôs war cabinet before the invasion. He takes blame for the flawed 2002 National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq's weapons programmes, and says he had ‚Äúno doubt‚ÄĚ that Saddam possessed illicit weapons.
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