George Tenet Talks

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Former CIA director George Tenet's big new memoir is officially out today, and the country's top spy chief in the run-up to 9/11 and the Iraq War is hopping mad.

He's angry that George Bush's inner circle made him the fall guy for Iraq, taking his phrase "slam dunk" and making him look, he says, like "Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah Winfrey's couch."

He's mad about inaction before 9/11 and about the rush to Iraq after. But what about his role?

This hour On Point: We get the inside view and roll tape on the former CIA chief's indictment of the road to war he shared.

Quotes from the Show:

"Tenet, although he carried over from the Clinton administration, nevertheless comes across in the book, and I think came across during his tenure as very political, deeply involved in policy discussions, not just presenting his version of just the facts. I think that his sort of passionate disagreements with policymakers now who are still in the administration, including the Vice President, suggest the degree to which he was involved." John Diamond

"This [book] is really George's personal statement of outrage more than anything else. George's job as the CIA chief was really to be the guardian of evidence. That actually bled into lots of other things, we can see that now. ... Tenet is in a position right now, where before this moment, he had to defend largely indefensible positions on issues of evidence and that's gonna be a very slippery slope for him, even now. ... Everyone in the room dropped the dime on George Tenet." Ron Suskind

"He was the director of CIA. It was his job to stand up and say that the intelligence on this is murky and he knew ... that there were serious, serious problems with the intelligence, at least questions." Tyler Drumheller

"One of the key lessons to learn from this as they look at reshaping the intelligence community which is going to have to happen over the next couple of years, they're going to have to rebuild the firewall between the politicians and the intelligence officers because it's really corrupted the process." Tyler Drumheller


John Diamond, Former national security correspondent for USA Today and author of a forthcoming book U.S. intelligence in the 1990s.

Tyler Drumheller, former head of covert operations in Europe for the CIA. He served with CIA for 26 years. He's the author of "On The Brink: An Insider's Account of How the White House Compromised American Intelligence."

Ron Suskind, he is a DC-based writer and journalist. His latest book is "The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies since 9/11."

This program aired on April 30, 2007.


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