It's a fascinating exercise in carefully parsed statements and half-truths.
He [Tenet] continues to assert falsely that the president's decision to remove Hussein was encouraged by lies about Iraq's responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks.Didn't every statement made made by the President, Vice-President and Defense Secretary between 9/11 and March 2003 link the 9/11 attack and Saddam Hussein?
Understandably anxious to counter the myth that we went into Iraq on the basis of his agency's faulty intelligence...Does anyone believe that it was the CIA exclusively that got it wrong. From what I've read, there were all sorts of caveats on their intelligence. Not only that, most of the intelligence used as a basis for the need for invasion came out of the Office of Special Plans, created by Donald Rumsfeld and headed by Douglas Feith.
But the greatest intelligence failure of the past two decades was the CIA's failure to understand and sound an alarm at the rise of jihadist fundamentalism. It is Wahhabi extremism and the call to holy war against infidels that gave us the perpetrators of Sept. 11 and much of the terrorism that has followed. In his attempts to blame others for CIA shortcomings, Tenet cannot say, "I told the president that our Saudi allies were financing thousands of mosques and schools around the world where a hateful doctrine of holy war and violence was being inculcated in young potential terrorists." Fatefully, the CIA failed to make our leaders aware of the rise of Islamist extremism and the immense danger it posed to the United States.
Is Richard Perle seriously saying that the CIA didn't look closely enough at Saudi Arabia, the Neocons', and oil companies', biggest partner in the Middle East?
And the final paragraph tops it all.
George Tenet and, more important, our premier intelligence organization managed to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist while failing to find links to terrorists that did -- all while missing completely the rise of Islamist fundamentalism. We have made only a down payment on the price of that failure.
What weapons of mass destruction did the CIA find? None, apart from a few chemical shells decades old and unusable. And they failed to find links to the terrorists because they didn't exist. Well, not in Iraq anyway.