Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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CIA Follies

More on the intelligence failure issue.

“They’ve made a pretty huge mess of it,” said one senior Republican who has been talking to Bush’s top advisers about what steps they should take next. “They wove this giant story, based on intelligence assessments that in hindsight - and this is hindsight, remember - were wrong.

“It’s exposed a huge problem in our intelligence gathering. But who wants to take that on in an election year? Or while you are fighting terrorists?”

White House officials will not talk at length about why they are so deeply hesitant to launch an investigation. But they are facing a situation in which Democrats are looking for evidence to blame Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and some Republicans are looking for evidence to blame George Tenet, the director of central intelligence.

I wouldn’t directly blame Tenet for the problems, they’ve been there for years.  What I do blame Tenet for is not using the momentum of the post-9/11 overhaul to rectify the situation.  There was a massive failure—two massive failures—on his watch, and we need some fresh blood in there.

Bush has publicly defended the “unbelievably hard-working, dedicated people” of the U.S. intelligence community in part, some administration officials say, because he wants to avoid another bitter, public dispute with Tenet and the intelligence community.

My answer to that?  Tough tittie.  The issue here is not to avoid upsetting the intelligence bureaucracy which failed us, it’s to overhaul that bureaucracy so that they don’t fail us again.

Posted by Lee on 01/30/04 at 10:09 AM in Politics • Permalink

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