Monday, April 30, 2007

George Tenet's ruinous tenure

Andy McCarthy says that George Tenet's appearance on 60 Minutes last night basically proved Tenet's incompetence and the Bush Administration's mistake in keeping him in the post as a holdover from Clinton. This one point (of the five that McCarthy raises) shows why:

Immediately after 9/11, Tenet’s first response was that (a) he knew for certain al Qaeda was responsible (“when you’ve been following this as long as I’ve been following this, when you’ve been thinking about multiple spectacular attacks. There was no doubt what had happened in my mind immediately”), and (b) bin Laden better watch out because “I’m gonna run you and all your bastards down. And here we come. Because the rules are about to change. Here we come; our turn now. Unleashed, authorities, money, direction, leadership; here we come, pal.”

Question: Why did it take 9/11 for that?

We knew Bin Laden had bombed the embassies in 1998. In October 2000, al Qaeda bombed the destroyer, the U.S.S. Cole, in Yemen. The Clinton people say they did not respond to the Cole attack because the intelligence community would not assure them that al Qaeda was responsible. Regardless of what Tenet and others may have been telling them, I find it impossible to believe that the Clinton people did not fully appreciate that al Qaeda was the culprit. But let’s assume, for argument’s sake, there really was some doubt. Was Tenet certain then, as he says he was the minute 9/11 happened, that al Qaeda did the Cole? And since the Cole bombing killed 17 U.S. naval personnel, why didn’t the rules change then? Why was our response to do … nothing.

No comments: