Saturday, September 23, 2006

George Tenet

In Progress

Tenet's Statement

Tenet released a statement on the evening of 7/11/03 in response to Wilson's 7/6/03 New York Times op-ed. In his statement Tenet assumes responsibility for the inclusion of the "sixteen words" the the 2003 State of the Union Address delivered on January 28, 2003.

First, CIA approved the PresidentÂ’s State of the Union address before it was delivered. Second, I am responsible for the approval process in my Agency. And third, the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound. These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.
Tenet Statement 7/11/03

Two days later, The CIA had a very different story out in the 7/13/03 WaPo article by Pincus entitled " CIA Got Uranium Reference Cut in Oct"

Tenet argued personally to White House officials, including deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, that the allegation should not be used [In a October 2002 speech] because it came from only a single source, according to one senior official.
WaPo 7/13/03

On 7/22/03 Barlett and Hadley admitted the White House had received memos showing Tenet had personally told the White House to remove the Niger claims from the earlier October 2002 speech.

The latest turn came Tuesday, when deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and White House communications director Dan Bartlett revealed the existence of two previously unknown memos showing that Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet had repeatedly urged the administration last October to remove a similar claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
WaPo 7/24/03


The are two accounts in the public record regarding the development of Tenet's statement, both appear in July 2005. Earlier in July, Rove's conversations with Matt Cooper and Novak were first reported along with front page articles on the INR Memo in the NYT and the WaPo.

The first account appeared on 7/21/05 in the NYT

People who have been briefed on the case said the White House officials, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, were helping prepare what became the administration's primary response to criticism that a flawed phrase about the nuclear materials in Africa had been in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address six months earlier.

They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed wording had gotten into the address. Mr. Rove, the president's political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet.
NYT 7/21/05

The CIA pushback was published on 7/27/05 in the WaPo.

On July 9, Tenet and top aides began to draft a statement over two days that ultimately said it was "a mistake" for the CIA to have permitted the 16 words about uranium to remain in Bush's speech. He said the information "did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and the CIA should have ensured that it was removed."

A former senior CIA official said yesterday that Tenet's statement was drafted within the agency and was shown only to Hadley on July 10 to get White House input. Only a few minor changes were accepted before it was released on July 11, this former official said. He took issue with a New York Times report last week that said Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, had a role in Tenet's statement
WaPo 7/27/05

Tenet's Role in the Investigation

It was initially reported in the 9/28/03 WaPo that the Justice Department's investigation into the leak was at Tenet's request, however the WaPo published a different account one week later on 10/05/03 and the NYT still another.

At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist, government sources said yesterday
WaPo 9/28/03

sources close to Tenet say the director himself was not responsible for initiating the leak investigation
WaPo 10/5/03

But Mr. Tenet was aware of the Novak column, and was not pleased, the C.I.A. official said. As required by law, the agency notified the Justice Department in late July that there had been a release of classified information; it is a felony for any official with access to such information to disclose the identity of a covert American officer. It is unclear when Mr. Tenet became aware of the referral, but when he did, he supported it, the C.I.A. official said, even though it was clearly going to cause problems for the White House. ''I don't think he lost any sleep over it,'' the official said.
NYT 10/5/03

The origins of the DOJ investigation are detailed in a CIA letter dated 1/30/04. The letter from the CIA was in response to a letter from Conyers dated 9/29/03.

By letter dated 16 September 2003 and in accordance with standard practice, the CIA informed DOJ that the Agency's investigation into this matter was complete, provided DOJ a memorandum setting forth the results of the investigation, and requested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undertake a criminal investigation of this matter. In a 29 September 2003 letter, DOJ advised that the Counterespionage Division of DOJ had requested that the FBI initiate an investigation of this matter.
CIA Letter 1/30/04

Tenet's Resignation

Tenet's resignation was unexpected.

Bush Consults Lawyer About CIA Name Leak
WAPO Thursday, June 3, 2004

CIA Director Tenet Resigns
WAPO Thursday, June 3, 2004

Cheney Said Questioned On CIA Leak
CBS Saturday, July 5, 2004


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