Thursday, June 03, 2004

George Tenet Speculation 

Juan Cole speculates on why Tenet finally resigned:
[The Plame] leak aimed at punishing her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, for having gone public about his mission to Niger in spring of 2002, in which he disproved the story that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake uranium from that country. Despite Wilson's report to the CIA, requested by VP Dick Cheney, and against Tenet's strong advice, Bush put the allegation into his 2003 State of the Union address.

Tenet should have resigned when Bush insisted on trumpeting an Iraqi nuclear weapons program at a time when Tenet was denying there was any such thing. (Tenet did think Iraq had chemical and biological programs, about which he was wrong). The nuclear claim helped convince the country to go to war. It was false. Tenet knew it was false. He told Bush that. Bush either knew it was false and said it anyway, or he disbelieved Tenet. Either thing should have produced Tenet's resignation.

That Bush retained counsel suggests that he intends to continue to cover for the slime who outed Plame, thereby endangering the lives of dozens of key contacts in the Third World who had been seen hanging out with her over the years when she had a cover as an energy consultant. Bush can produce the perpetrator if he wants, but has decided not to.

So Tenet should resign over that.

Then, someone leaked to Ahmad Chalabi sensitive details of the CIA's cryptography operations against Iran. The leaker is probably a neocon with Defense Department links. Bush could also produce this person if he wanted to. He has not.

So Tenet should resign over Bush's shocking disregard for national security.
There are really three reasons here: (1) Bush's disregard for national security in not trying to get to the bottom of the Plame leak; (2) Bush's insistence on pushing Saddam's nonexistent nuclear program as a causus belli; and (3) Bush's disregard for national security in not being more outspoken on the Chalabi front.

But none of these really would explain why Tenet resigned today, as opposed to last year. Yes, the Chalabi thing is new, but that's an Army/DOD/NSA thing (the codebreaking, that is) than a CIA thing, right? Anyway, Cole is right that Tenet should have resigned for all three of those reasons, but I'm not convinced any one of them is the real reason.
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