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At the Center of the Storm review

George Tenet

On the morning in 9/12/01, Tenet ran into Neocon Richard Perle at the door of the White House.
Perle said that Saddam had to pay for the attack. [In fact, records show that Perle was in Paris at
the time. Tenet later revised his comment and said that the interaction took place at some point
during the week after 9/11. Perle denies the exchange ever occurred, though he saw Tenet.]
Tenet was Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (Deputy DCI) for several years before
becoming DCI. Tenet became DCI after Tony Lake dropped out of consideration following very
harsh Senate hearings over his appointment. Clinton nominated Tenet at Lake’s suggestion.
DCI is tasked with overseeing the entire U.S. intelligence community, but primarily runs the
When Tenet took over in 1997, the entire intelligence community and especially the CIA were in
bad shape. The post-Cold War “Peace Dividend” had meant that the intelligence agencies’
budgets and capabilities had been slashed.
-CIA buildings, including agents’ housing, had deteriorated pitifully.
-The CIA had totally lost its technological edge and was badly outclassed by private sector
-CIA had reduced its personnel through the worst possible method; it stopped hiring new agents.
-Pay grade advancement required highly specialized analysts to become personnel managers,
wasting precious abilities.
-The CIA lacked a CFO or CEO and poorly tracked its own finances.
-The agency was demoralized from five different DCI’s in seven years.
-The CIA lacked a coherent, long-term strategy for meeting U.S. intelligence needs and
combating global threats.
Tenet responded by making several reforms:
-Financial experts from the private sector were hired by the agency to reform its business side.
-Tenet renewed efforts to solicit more funds from the government, and kept these efforts constant
throughout his term.
-Tenet founded In-Q-Tel, a private company tasked with adapting private sector technologies to
the agency’s needs.
-Tenet established the CIA academy and standardized a sensible basic training course and more
advanced courses.
-Tenet tried to implement a performance-based pay system at the CIA later on in his term. The
new system would have held managers accountable for the productivity of their subordinates. A
trial run in one department yielded positive results, but Congress refused Tenet the authority to
implement it across the entire agency. Tenet’s successor totally scrapped the plan.
Tenet’s knack for business management probably comes from his experiences as a child, where
he observed his parents working together in the family diner.
Once Tenet became DCI, ensuring his personal security became a constant concern. A team of
CIA guards lived in his basement and he was driven everywhere in an armored SUV full of
guards, which was followed by a second SUV with more men. These guards became part of his
As DCI, Tenet spent all of his time in the late evenings and early mornings revising and
delivering the President’s Daily Brief (PDB)—a daily intelligence summary privy only to the

President and a handful of high-ranking officials. Tenet was usually present during the morning
readings and answered questions from the President and his aides regarding the PDB.
Tenet very frequently met with the heads of foreign intelligence services, either at CIA
headquarters or during visits to other countries. It is critical to forge friendships with these
people over time so that they will be amenable to sharing intelligence later on.
Intelligence meetings with the Russians were always strained and often failed to accomplish
objectives. Tenet believes much mistrust still remains from the Cold War.
The CIA knew that India and Pakistan had nuclear weapons programs, but it was totally
blindsided by the May 1998 nuclear tests. There are several reasons for this:
-The Indian program was totally indigenous and did not have any connections to advanced
countries like Russia or France that the CIA could have spied on.
-In 1995, U.S. intelligence had learned of Indian plans to stage a nuke test, and had privately
warned them not to do so. The Indians acceded, but realized that the U.S. had infiltrated their
nuke program and decided to keep any following attempts extremely secret (known to very few
-The task of anticipating nuclear tests was new to the CIA, and it lacked the ability to be 100%
-American spy satellites had been diverted to watching Iraq, so preparations for the Indo-Pak
nuclear tests were missed.
The May 1999 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo war:
-The CIA had been giving the Air Force targets to strike. The Chinese embassy was mistakenly
believed to be a Serbian warehouse full of missile parts meant for export to rogue nations. The
warehouse existed, but was a few hundred yards away from the CIA’s given location.
-But the Pentagon also erred because it had not kept its “No-Strike Database” updated. Had this
been done, the Pentagon would have seen the CIA’s mistake before the attack.
-One CIA officer doubted that the location of the target was correct, and he contacted the DoD
twice to express his concerns. He was ignored.
-Tenet is angry over the Pentagon’s refusal to accept its half of the blame for the incident.
The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, who had signed the 1994 Oslo Accords and shared a Nobel
Peace Prize with Yassir Arafat, elicited real sympathy from the Palestinian people. Shortly after
the assassination, Hamas began a bombing campaign that showed it was more powerful than
previously thought, and Arafat realized that they threatened his own power. For a time, after
Rabin’s death, there was a real chance for peace in Israel.
Clinton launched a new peace initiative. He realized that a critical part to any peace plan would
be a security agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in which the respective security and
intelligence organs would have to cooperate with one another to control terrorists. The CIA had
good relations with both parties, so Tenet was naturally put forth to handle the security
agreement portion of the negotiations.
For the late 1998 Wye River Memorandum negotiations, Clinton read up extensively on the
history of Israel and Palestine beforehand, and he was able to recall very obscure facts
instantaneously during the talks. Clinton literally worked around the clock for days on end,
personally meeting with Arafat and Netanyahu and then going away to work on domestic
political issues. Tenet describes Clinton’s efforts during the meetings as “magnificent.”
The Israelis and Palestinians were both prone to long, histrionic tirades that quickly became
irritating and which were repeated at almost every meeting.

During the Wye River meetings, the Israelis focused on security guarantees from the Palestinians
while the Palestinians wanted greater autonomy from Israeli forces. Both sides found it very hard
to compromise to the others’ liking, and refused to commit anything onto paper until the end.
The Americans discovered that much of this stemmed from a fear that the proceedings would be
leaked to the press, which might lead to them being labeled as “traitors” by conservative
elements of their respective societies. Such a development during the middle of the negotiations
would have entirely derailed them.
The Israelis tried to make the release of Jonathan Pollard a condition of signing the Wye River
Memorandum. Pollard’s actions against the U.S. had cost the lives of several sources, and Tenet
knew that Pollard’s release from a U.S. jail would cause Tenet to lose all credibility within the
intelligence community, probably making his resignation inevitable. Tenet was also opposed to
Pollard’s release on moral grounds. With this in mind, Tenet privately met with Clinton and
threatened to resign should Pollard be released. The U.S. refused to release him, and the Israelis
signed the Memo anyway.
Tenet speaks highly of King Hussein of Jordan, who was a nice and wise man.
After the Wye River Memo was signed, there were no terrorist attacks inside of Israel proper for
two years. The peace was broken in September 2000 when Ariel Sharon and a force of 1,000 IDF
and Israeli police visited the area around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The resulting violence
developed into the Second Intifada.
In the summer 2000 Camp David Summit, Bill Clinton attempted to craft a permanent peace
between the Israelis and Palestinians, forever settling the status of Jerusalem, Israel’s borders, the
right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the issues of security and terrorism. Ehud Barak put
forth the most generous terms ever offered by Israel, but Arafat refused and the talks collapsed.
Tenet believes that Arafat was mad at Barak for an earlier refusal to turn over some villages near
Jerusalem to Palestinian control, and that Arafat had no intention of agreeing to anything at
Camp David and instead just showed up out of respect for Bill Clinton.
All of the parties met again in Paris two months later to create a peace treaty ending the ongoing
Second Intifada. Progress was made in drafting a 10-point peace agreement, but one of the points
called for a commission to investigate the causes of the uprising. While the U.S. was originally
tasked with running the commission, Arafat met with Jacques Chirac during the negotiations, and
the two returned and started demanding that the commission be of an international character that
guaranteed an unfair bias against Israel. The talks thus fell apart.
During his life, Yassir Arafat was one of the greatest impediments to Mideast peace. As a symbol
of the Palestinian people and their struggle, Arafat had a vested interest in seeing that Israel and
the Occupied Territories were in constant conflict. Being seen with world leaders legitimized
Arafat’s claim to power, so dragging out the peace process interminably kept him at center stage.
While Tenet liked Arafat as a person, he hated Arafat’s behavior as a politician (Madeline
Albright was the same) and was thankful when Bush came into office and stopped American
dealings with Arafat. Bush also retired the CIA’s Clinton-era diplomatic role and instead tasked it
with monitoring the situation and selectively sharing intelligence with both sides. Tenet feels that
the CIA is inherently better suited for this function.
Still, the CIA played a role in negotiating an end to the April-May 2002 hostage standoff at the
Church of the Nativity, where Palestinian fighters barricaded themselves into the building with
the resident Christian monks and the IDF surrounded them. CIA agents served as intermediaries
between the two sides and crafted a solution whereby the Palestinians would agree to deportation

so long as their weapons (which Israeli forensics would have probably traced to terrorist crimes)
were dumped into the ocean.
Tenet describes Arafat as complex, bipolar, and impossible to “read.”
After 2000, Tenet notes that Arafat became a sadder, almost broken man as his power diminished
and the IDF kept him confined to his headquarters.
U.S. efforts to bring peace to Israel and Palestine pay dividends in the Arab world because they
show the U.S. cares about the plight of the Palestinians and treats them fairly.
The CIA became aware of Osama bin Laden’s role as a terrorist financier in 1993. Bin Laden
funded terrorist training camps across the entire Muslim world in Europe, Asia and Africa.
In 1996, DCI John Deutch created a CIA task force devoted to studying Bin Laden and
uncovering his terrorist financing methods.
Contrary to widely held belief, the CIA had no contact with bin Laden during his fight against
the Soviet Union in the 1980’s. [The CIA definitely provided large quantities of weapons to
Afghan rebels during the same period, though all or almost all of this went through local
intermediaries because the CIA was afraid to directly deal within the country. It is possible that
some CIA weapons may have come into al Qaeda’s possession as a result, though this was
unintended if it happened and beyond CIA’s control.]
After the Afghan War, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia but was kicked out in 1992 because
the government was threatened by his extremism and terrorist connections. Bin Laden moved to
Khartoum, Sudan where he continued to fund world terrorist activities and where he founded
several front companies to finance terrorism. The companies were staffed with al Qaeda veterans
from Afghanistan and became highly successful, generating more money.
The closure of the U.S. embassy in Sudan in February 1996 due to deteriorating security
conditions was, in retrospect, a mistake as it deprived American intelligence of a valuable means
to spy on al Qaeda.
Tenet denies that the U.S. ever received Sudanese government offers to turn over bin Laden.
In the mid-90’s, bin Laden moved from merely funding terrorists to controlling them and
drafting plans for new attacks. It was during this same time that he began attempts to obtain
Bin Laden sent al Qaeda members to Somalia in 1993 to train Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s fighters
against Americans. The U.S. pullout following the infamous botched Mogadishu raid
significantly altered bin Laden’s view of Americans: He concluded that they were weak and
could be defeated. In 2001, bin Laden was shocked by the speed and effectiveness of the
supposedly incompetent U.S. forces in taking over Afghanistan.
There was an incident in which Saudi intelligence failed to inform the CIA of a terrorist attempt
to smuggle Sagger AA missiles into Saudi Arabia shortly before a visit by Al Gore.
American leaders were warned of the threat al Qaeda posed well before 9/11:
-Osama bin Laden issued several public fatwas effectively declaring war on the U.S. and
ordering all Muslims to kill Americans.
-The African embassy bombings and U.S.S. Cole bombing were the work of al Qaeda.
-The entire intelligence community repeatedly reported to the government that al Qaeda was a
serious and growing threat that was determined to launch a major terrorist strike within the U.S.
It was known that bin Laden favored attacking major targets that were economically and
politically symbolic. Furthermore, the U.S. knew that al Qaeda posed a specific threat to U.S.
civil aviation. [AA missiles in past]

Outside of official reports, Tenet repeatedly warned members of government about al Qaeda’s
threat and pleaded with President Clinton and politicians from both parties for increases in CIA
funding and for heightened U.S. domestic security. He was ignored.
The Republicans and Democrats during the Clinton years didn’t appreciate the gravity of the
terrorist threat and didn’t understand that improvements to counterterrorist capabilities took years
to build up and usually required enhancing all of a spy agency’s sections, not just the one
pertaining to counterterrorism. Policymakers instead seemed to believe that funding could be
briefly increased during periods of heightened threat, and that counterterrorist capabilities would
instantly increase and neutralize the opponent.
The CIA recognized the growing terrorist threat and shifted funds and resources to its
counterterrorist division at the expense of other departments.
The Clinton-era approach to terrorism
-Law enforcement: U.S. courts would try and convict foreign terrorists for the actual commission
of crimes or for conspiracy to commit crimes. It would then try to get foreign governments to
arrest and deport these terrorists to the U.S. This met with limited success.
-Overt military action: The military, not the CIA, would attack and kill terrorists. Clinton favored
cruise missiles because no pilots were risked, but the weapon had downsides, mainly slow speed.
The necessary conditions for a military strike—solid intelligence on the location of the terrorist,
proof that they would stay stationary or go to a known location within the next few hours, and
assurances of no civilian losses—were very difficult to fulfill. Pre-9/11, politicians were very
averse to being aggressive at the risk of damaging diplomatic relations or violating laws.
-Covert action: The CIA was not authorized to kill Osama bin Laden; Janet Reno had ruled such
an action illegal. But the CIA was allowed to capture bin Laden forcefully, and it would have
been legal had he been killed during a kidnapping operation, so long as the objective had not
been his assassination. The CIA worked successfully during the 1990’s to build networks of
informants within Afghanistan. Tenet seriously considered an offer put forth by an Afghan tribe
to capture bin Laden in Kandahar by storming his home, and then smuggle him out of the
country through the CIA to face trial in the U.S., but the plan was deemed too unlikely to
succeed. A later plan was drafted for U.S. Special Forces to capture bin Laden, and it was rated
likely to succeed, but the CIA was not given authorization for the mission.
People today ask why the government didn’t topple the Taliban before 9/11, but they forget that
there were real fears that, without the Taliban, Afghanistan would degenerate back into chaos and
perhaps destabilize Pakistan as well.
The political and legal atmosphere before 9/11 was totally different from today: The U.S.
government was more complacent and afraid to fight al Qaeda for fear of the consequences.
In response to the 1998 African embassy bombings, Clinton launched cruise missile strikes
against a suspected chemical weapons factory in Sudan that was connected to al Qaeda, and a
house in Afghanistan where the CIA had good intelligence that bin Laden would be for a
meeting. There was controversy over the real function of the factory, and bin Laden left the
meeting before the bomb hit in Afghanistan.
The cruise missiles of the 1990’s were slow and preprogrammed, meaning they were good
against fixed targets yet useless against moving ones.
By 9/11, the CIA had 100 informants within Afghanistan and had eight different tribes secretly
allied with it. This was part of a successful CIA effort to build sources within Afghanistan once it
was known what a threat al Qaeda was.

There were multiple terrorist plots leading up to the millennium celebrations. The Muslims also
have a millennialist view and some believed that terrorist attacks would bring about a return of
Muslim rule over Jerusalem. Furthermore, the 2000 New Year overlapped with Ramadan—a
time favored by extremists for terrorist attacks. The U.S. worked with other governments across
the world to foil them all:
-A major operation by Hezbollah in East Asia was foiled, with more than 40 arrests.
-A terrorist plot to attack Americans and Israelis in Amman on New Year’s using nerve gas was
-The CIA disrupted communications between Iranian intelligence agents and members of
Hezbollah by sending CIA agents to talk up the Iranians in public. Just the sight of an Iranian
intel agent talking with someone from the CIA would get the Iranian in serious trouble.
-An Algerian terrorist group based in Canada plotted to smuggle explosives across the U.S.-
Canada border and bomb LAX. The plan was busted after one of their agents was recognized and
arrested by a Border Patrol agent.
Successfully combating this surge of terrorism showed how absolutely critical good relations
with foreign intelligence services are to U.S. security. We cannot win the fight alone.
In the summer of 2000, the CIA’s capabilities received a huge upgrade when the agency started
flying its own Predator drones over Afghanistan. The drones gave the CIA a real-time
surveillance capability, meaning they no longer had to rely on questionable foreign sources for
information on the locations of terrorists. Satellites are also more cumbersome than the drones
for observation. Furthermore, signals intelligence took days to analyze, by which time the
opportunity to strike the target would have passed.
The government did not respond to the October 2000 U.S.S. Cole attack because doing such
would have complicated the ongoing election and there were simply no good targets to strike in
response if only cruise missiles were to be used.
Tenet disputes the 9/11 Commission’s opinion that senior members of the Clinton and Bush
administrations underestimated the gravity of al Qaeda’s threat.
Once the election was settled in favor of George W. Bush, Tenet was unsure if he would be
replaced as DCI. There were briefly rumors that Donald Rumsfeld would take his place, but
Bush let him stay.
Gore had a different slant on intelligence and often questioned Tenet about how issues like
climate change and drought could affect national security. Cheney ignored those and was
traditional in his attitudes concerning intelligence. Also, while Gore had an assistant attend
intelligence community meetings, Cheney was personally present, and he knew a tremendous
amount about the intelligence business.
Tenet believes that Cheney’s presence during meetings was inadvertently hurtful since it made
people afraid to speak up and interfered with Condoleeza Rice’s ability to run the meetings.
Rice was capable as National Security Advisor, but was more “hands-off” than her predecessor,
Sandy Berger.
The Bush team was loath to continue any of the Clinton administration’s foreign or domestic
Tenet notes that there was a loss of urgency in fighting terrorists when Bush took office because
many top-level intel and military people were replaced. Those old people had lived through the
Africa embassy bombings, the Cole bombing, and the Millennium plots, and this had created a
really emotional imperative to fight al Qaeda. While the new people were intellectually aware of
the gravity of the threat, they did not have the same appreciation for it that those like Tenet had.

The government’s ability to fight terrorists was not diminished due to the changes at the top since
all of the lower-level people stayed in place.
Pakistan Pre-9/11
-Leadership’s worst nightmare has always been a two-front Islamist/Indian war.
-Believed that the U.S. had ulterior motives in Afghanistan.
-Pakistan disliked the Northern Alliance because it was backed by India and Russia. Pakistan
supported the Taliban.
-Pakistan opposed pre-9/11 strikes against Afghanistan that the U.S. wanted to launch.
The U.S. intelligence community was aware of a large increase in suspicious terrorist activity
and communications in the months leading up to 9/11. They knew a large strike against the U.S.
or Israel was coming soon, but knew no other details. They also believed that the attack might be
against overseas American interests.
The CIA disrupted an Islamic terrorist plan in 1994 to fly a small plane into CIA headquarters.
Bush was firmly in charge of all decision making in the days after 9/11; nobody else like Cheney
was pulling the strings.
The CIA had many well-developed plans for taking down al Qaeda, but was only able to
implement them after 9/11.
The U.S. made it clear to Pakistan that a failure to assist against al Qaeda and the Taliban would
have grave consequences. Musharraf then reversed his pro-Taliban position permanently.
Only a few of the 9/11 hijackers were known to U.S. intelligence before the attacks. All of the
hijackers were replaceable and nonintegral to the plan. Arresting those with known terrorist
connections would have merely delayed the attacks until substitutes were found.
[America needed a wake-up call about the seriousness of the Islamic terrorist threat. Foiling 9/11
and exposing the plot to the public would have not led to the necessary military, security and
diplomatic changes that the actual attack did. The country would have remained vulnerable, and
al Qaeda would have plotted and staged subsequent attacks until one succeeded. Some type of
major terrorist attack within America would have eventually occurred and been needed to spur us
to proper action.]
Tenet believes the 9/11 hijackers scouted other locations within the U.S. for subsequent terrorist
teams to strike.
The FBI and CIA had different information on the 9/11 hijackers that was not shared due to
incompetence within the agencies and to laws preventing certain types of FBI-CIA cooperation.
The Afghan War
-CIA paramilitary teams with Afghan language skills were the first Americans in the country.
These were manned with highly seasoned, middle-aged agents.
-The teams were secretly tasked with convincing tribes to side with the U.S. against the Taliban.
Food, money, and demonstrations of airpower were provided as enticement.
-The CIA teams could call in airlifts of money and desired supplies very shortly after an Afghan
tribe allied itself with America.
Rumsfeld continued to make an unnecessary issue over his desire to have all American forces in
Afghanistan, including CIA agents, under Pentagon authority. Tenet resisted.
Northern Afghanistan is primarily Tajik. Therefore, the Northern Alliance was Tajik-dominated.
Southern Afghanistan is primarily Pashtun.
Hamid Karzai was the most promising Pashtun leader, and the CIA supported him early. He
commanded a force of rebels and, at great personal risk, was present during two battles with the

The CIA became worried over the fast progress of the Northern Alliance against the Taliban: It
was feared that, if the Tajik-dominated force took over all of Afghanistan before new Pashtun
leadership could emerge as a counterbalance, the Tajiks would be abusive and oppressive in the
south. Fortunately, the Northern Alliance behaved well when it took over the country.
9/11 was supposed to be the first in a string of attacks, but Tenet believes that the increased
efforts of intelligence services and police following the disaster deterred and disrupted al Qaeda
from completing their original plans.
During the spring and summer of 2004, there were the heaviest post-9/11 indications that al
Qaeda was planning another attack on American soil.
Al Qaeda members are still inside the U.S. and are waiting to receive orders for their next attack.
Tenet states that al Qaeda has enough of a presence within the U.S. to stage mass attacks against
malls that would kill hundreds of people. The organization has also called off terrorist attacks in
the advanced stages, such as a plan to release cyanide gas on NYC subways, which would also
have been very damaging. Tenet speculates that al Qaeda is planning another massive attack on
the scale of 9/11, probably using nuclear weapons, and the organization does not want to waste
valuable agents on lesser actions.
The destruction of the Saudi government is a little-known primary objective of al Qaeda. A
nuclear attack against a major Saudi oil facility would be easier to accomplish than the same
attack on U.S. soil, and would seriously damage both countries.
Interrogations of captured terrorists using current methods yield extremely valuable information.
Tenet guesses that the information gained from interrogations alone is as valuable as all that is
gained from spying. Treating detainees in a more humane manner and giving them immediate
access to lawyers upon arrest, as some U.S. lawmakers and groups have proposed, would
seriously limit the intelligence we could gather from them.
Many times, the information gained during an interrogation exposes the names and locations of
other terrorists, who can then be arrested and interrogated, leading to more names and more
arrests. This process can dramatically weaken a terrorist organization in a short time.
Al Qaeda has been trying hard to obtain WMD’s since before 9/11, and has also been soliciting
fatwas from Islamic religious leaders that justify the mass killing of millions of Americans. It is
very clear that al Qaeda’s major goal is to stage a terrorist nuclear attack against an American
city that would be designed to cause as many deaths as possible and to inflict a crippling degree
of economic damage, without any distinction between civilian and military losses.
[Bin Laden has stated that he wants to destroy the U.S. economy.]
[The hallmarks of classic al Qaeda terrorist attack planning:
-Strong emphasis on minimizing Muslim casualties
-Objective is to kill mass numbers of civilians; there is no restraint
-Targets confined to buildings of political or economic symbolism, or mass transit systems
-Chemical, biological or nuclear weapons are the preferred weapons
-The attacks are always meticulously planned and preparations begin years in advance
-Strong emphasis on attacking within the U.S. or allied country
The group’s operations have changed since 9/11 due to the serious losses suffered in
Afghanistan, the consequent decentralization of the organization and the tactical needs of the
Iraq War.]
Al Qaeda has tried to buy Russian nukes.
Al Qaeda has been cheated in the past by underground nuclear peddlers.

Al Qaeda planned coordinated nerve gas attacks against the mass transit systems of several
European countries in the summer of 2003. The plot was thwarted by the joint efforts of more
than 20 different governments, and stands as one of the greatest counterterrorism successes post-
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had a small terrorist facility in northern Iraq that he used to produce
chemical weapons. It operated from 2002 until the U.S. invasion.
A.Q. Khan is a Pakistani nuclear scientist hailed as the Father of his country’s atomic weapons
program. Khan gained much of the necessary knowledge in the late 1970’s when he stole nuclear
technology from a Dutch company he was working for and fled back to Pakistan. A Dutch court
tried and convicted him of this crime in absentia, but the ruling was later overturned on a
The U.S. suspended military cooperation with Pakistan in 1979 to protest Pakistan’s nuclear
program. Before that, the two countries had good relations and strong military ties: Most of
Pakistan’s officers had been trained in the U.S.
A.Q. Khan’s network of black market nuclear proliferators sold advanced nuclear information
and hardware to North Korea, Iran, Libya, and other unnamed countries.
While Khan brought Pakistan the core knowledge it needed to build a nuclear weapon, much of
the development was done by other Pakistani scientists and at state expense. George Tenet got
President Musharraf to agree to punish Khan by showing Musharraf intercepted copies of
Pakistani centrifuge tube schematics that Khan was trying to secretly sell to someone else. While
the U.S. wanted Khan tried and thrown in jail, Musharraf’s decision to instead put the former
under permanent house arrest was “satisfactory.”
Aside from the Khan network, there may be other groups selling nukes on the black market. It is
possible some may be entirely unknown to the CIA.
Tenet says that $100 million is how much a nuke on the black market costs.
Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby were, in spite of a lack of credible evidence, convinced that an
Iraq-al Qaeda connection existed. They constantly hounded Tenet and other CIA analysts to
reassess intelligence analyses that showed no such alliance.
Tenet says that, during White House meetings in the week after 9/11, Douglass Feith
(Undersecretary of Defense for Policy), Richard Perle (Chairman of the Defense Policy Board
Advisory Committee) and Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defense—second only to
Rumsfeld) were all demanding retaliation against Iraq, even though no connection between Iraq
and the terrorist attacks had yet been proven or even suggested by the evidence. Bush rejected
the idea during this period. [Important to note that Bush was not the originator of the plan to
attack Iraq following 9/11—his Neocon advisors were.]
Before and after 9/11, Colin Powell advocated sanctions targeting Iraq’s military. He was very
cautious about invading.
Tenet claims that the decision to invade Iraq was made exclusively at the White House, and that
the CIA was never consulted about the wisdom or likely repercussions of such an action.
There was also no consideration given to the ethics of preemptively invading Iraq, no serious
search for alternative courses of action, and no realistic discussion of what the aftermath would
look like.
Tenet cites Brent Scowcroft’s 2002 Washington Times piece opposing the Iraq War as important.
In 2002, Dick Cheney gave a speech to the VFW stating that Iraq had WMD’s for sure. In
retrospect, Tenet believes that he should have spoken out against the speech because he knew at
the time it was wrong.

Also in 2002, Tenet learned of a secret White House plot to fund Iranian rebels. Tenet and Powell
worked together to neutralize the plan.
The CIA believed that, at best, Saddam would have nuclear weapons capabilities around 2010.
The Downing Street Memo.
The late 2002 “Prefect Storm” CIA report had a section describing a worst-case scenario for
postwar Iraq. This very accurately predicted the course of actual events, chiefly the emergence of
the insurgency. Policymakers ignored these accurate warnings.
Tenet’s interactions with White House officials lead him to believe that WMD’s and terrorist
connections were engineered pretexts for the invasion, which was really meant to democratize
Iraq as the first stage of a massive effort to remake Middle Eastern society. The high-level
Neocon proponents of the Iraq invasion knew from the outset that there were probably no
WMD’s or terrorist connections and just used them as a public excuse to accomplish a different
objective. (Chapter 17 or 18)
The late 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) pertaining to the status of Iraq’s WMD
program was completed in only three weeks due to political pressure. An NIE typically takes six
months. Tenet says that this rush to complete the report meant that the intelligence community
didn’t have time to properly analyze the data or to make sure the document was carefully
worded. Even still, the 90-page body of the NIE expresses clear uncertainties over the size or
composition of Iraq’s WMD stockpiles and over how many years it would take for Iraq to repair
its infrastructure to the point that it could make nukes. Unfortunately, the shorter Executive
Summary section of the NIE is worded in a way that makes the evidence against Iraq sound very
strong and assured, and most of the members of the House and Senate only read this short part.
The declassified NIE available to the general public is the most inaccurate-sounding of all.
In 2002, the CIA knew for sure that North Korea had a more advanced nuclear program than
Iraq, and that Iran was a bigger sponsor of terrorism than Iraq.
Some important intelligence in the NIE came from bad sources. One source was codenamed
“Curveball” and the other was “Al Assad.”(sp?) The DIA knew there were serious problems with
both sources, but they did not communicate this during the compilation of the NIE.
Saddam already had 550 tons of Yellowcake—an industrial intermediate between raw and
enriched uranium.
The U.S. assumed that Saddam would behave like a rational person and give in to WMD
inspectors and U.S. demands rather than face destruction. But we failed to realize that Saddam
was not rational in the Western sense: he had a distorted way of thinking thanks to mental illness,
came from a prideful culture in which people have great difficulty backing down and showing
weakness, and could not show weakness or that he had no WMD’s in front of the Iranians or
Iraqi dissidents. The U.S. was also so used to dealing with countries trying to conceal secret
WMD programs that it never considered the opposite: A country without a WMD program that
pretended like it had one to intimidate rivals.
There was some connections between Saddam’s regime and terrorists:
-Zarqawi was living in northern Iraq, where he belonged to a Sunni Islamic terrorist group and
established a small chemical weapons factory and terrorist training camp. However, northern
Iraq was Kurdish and outside of Saddam’s control at the time. Zarqawi only visited Baghdad
once, and it was for medical treatment. The terrorist camp grew in size during 2002 as al Qaeda
members fled the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
-Saddam gave large amounts of money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. [In 2000,
Saddam started paying the families lumps sums of $10,000. In 2002, he increased it to $25,000.

The per capita GDP for Palestinians was $2,050 in 1999, and the economy has shrunk since then
thanks to the effects of the Second Intifada and the subsequent breakdown of the peace process.]
-The Iraqis gave the terrorists some weapons training.
-Small numbers of al Qaeda agents were in Baghdad.
-Islamic Jihad had liaisons in Baghdad who met with Iraqi officials a few times. Saddam viewed
the Islamic terrorist groups as a threat to his regime, but saw their usefulness in hurting enemy
countries. Consequently, he kept them at arm’s length, but also maintained lines of
communication. The Islamic groups viewed Saddam as a secular abomination, but also as a
potential source for weapons and training they could not get elsewhere. Both sides tried to use
the other and remained suspicious of the other side, and the resultant level of fruitful exchange
was not what the Bush administration made it out to be.
Tenet blocked a 2003 speech Cheney was planning to give because it pronounced too great of a
Saddam-al Qaeda connection.
Tenet repeatedly apologizes for the failures of the CIA and of himself to properly disclose the
nature of Saddam’s threat.
Tenet clearly and unequivocally states that there was no Iraq-9/11 connection. Also, while
Saddam’s men and terrorists had contact before 9/11, there was never any sort of crisscrossing
command. Saddam’s regime never ordered terrorists to do anything.
Saddam and al Qaeda had an especially poor relationship. Saddam was actually friendlier to
other terrorist organizations.
Cheney, Wolfowitz and Libby possessed an expert understanding of intelligence operations and
voluminous memories for intelligence reports. Teams of highly specialized and high-ranking CIA
analysts were needed to handle their inquiries during meetings. While Cheney behaved well,
Wolfowitz and Libby were very aggressive and kept seizing upon scraps of unreliable
intelligence to support their plans. When the analysts would refute the value of the presented
intel or the interpretations of the intel developed by Wolfowitz and Libby, the two would demand
a reassessment. It became a tiring pattern leading up to the Iraq War.
Mohammad Atta did not meet with Iraqi agents in Prague. Video footage shows it was a different
person. [Cheney continued to claim the man was actually Atta up until 2004]
Al Qaeda sought chemical weapons from Saddam. While there was no exchange of such
weapons, Saddam did give the group “chemical weapons training.” Tenet feels that confirmed
violations like these could have served as a public indictment against Saddam, but instead were
overshadowed by debunked Neocon lies regarding things like a Saddam-9/11 conspiracy. Once
the war ended, the public focused on what was proven false and ignored what was proven true.
Once the U.S. invaded Iraq, American troops repeatedly came across recently abandoned Iraqi
government and military buildings in which they found sensitive documents that detailed close
Iraq-al Qaeda ties. The documents were always left out in the open or scattered across the floor
of a main room so that the U.S. troops would definitely see them. The papers bypassed the
normal channels of intelligence analysis and would very quickly end up in the hands of senior
White House officials, who would publicly cite them as proof. However, once CIA got its hands
on the documents, it turned out that they were all clear forgeries: Records dated ten years old
were found to have been printed on fresh paper with recently manufactured ink. [Compare to
Chad Yellowcake memo fakes] The sources of the documents were never found.
It is worth remembering that all of the world’s major intelligence services believed Saddam had
WMD stockpiles in 2003.

Tenet made his infamous “Slam dunk” comment during a closed-door meeting with Bush and his
senior aides a two weeks before the Iraq invasion. He says that it was an offhand comment that
aroused no excitement, and he denies the reports that he raised his voice or jumped out of his
chair when he said it. Tenet, who is not a Neocon and who was appointed as DCI in 1997 under
Bill Clinton, claims that the Bush administration caricatured and exaggerated the “Slam dunk”
comment months later when they needed a scapegoat for the exposed intelligence misestimates
that contributed to the Iraq War. He believes that the Bush team made a calculated, secret
decision to do this, and cites the fact that Bush, Rice and others started talking about “Slam
dunk” during the same period of time. Tenet believes that George W. Bush deliberately leaked
the comment to Bob Woodward, and that the corresponding scene depicted in Plan of Attack is
totally wrong. The Neocons in the Bush administration originated the idea to attack Iraq and
pushed it for months both in the public sphere and inside the government. Tenet finds it
preposterous to believe that his “Slam dunk” comment was any significant part of the decision to
go to war considering the massive build-up and fanaticism he saw in the months before it. While
Tenet and the CIA made serious errors in analyzing the Iraqi intelligence, the real people to
blame were the Bush Neocons.
The Bush team assigned Colin Powell to write and deliver a speech to the U.N. on the cause for
war. Powell worked on the speech over the course of five days inside the CIA building. The
administration had originally wanted the speech to span three days, but Powell cut it down to a
single presentation after he, Tenet and the assisting CIA analysts discovered that most of the
Bush team’s intelligence supporting the case for war was garbage. Lewis Libby provided much
of the bogus intelligence. [Additional sources have come forward since 2003 confirming all of
Even after cutting the worst bits, the speech Powell delivered to the U.N. was later revealed to
contain serious and numerous intelligence errors. Tenet is very apologetic for this.
A source codenamed “Curveball” provided much of the bogus intel cited in the NIE and in
Powell’s speech:
-Curveball was an Iraqi refugee who had fled to Germany. He turned himself in to German
authorities to trade info. on Iraq’s WMD program for protection.
-Problematically, the Germans refused to allow American personnel to speak directly with
Curveball. All of his revelations were passed from the Germans to the DIA to the CIA.
-Curveball clearly knew a great deal about microbiology, biological weapons and the
manufacturing processes for said weapons.
-He was the one who claimed that Saddam had mobile chemical weapons labs.
-However, the Germans also observed that Curveball had problems with alcohol, was suffering
from the effects of a recent nervous breakdown, and was clearly lying at times.
-In a private meeting, one of the German intel agents told Tyler Drumheller—former chief of the
CIA’s European division—about these problems with Curveball. Drumheller failed to notify the
rest of the intelligence community about this. Doing such would have invalidated Curveball’s
information well before the Iraq War started. [Drumheller has publicly claimed that he did
inform Tenet and others within the intelligence community of Curveball’s problems, but no one
The CIA created bases in northern Iraq starting in 2002 to lay the groundwork for the coming
invasion. CIA agents trained Kurdish rebels and, through secret meetings and bribes, created
networks of informants within Iraq who provided invaluable information on the locations of
Iraqis AA defenses. The CIA was even able to uncover Saddam’s attempts to infiltrate the CIA

camps. The agents also interviewed scores of high-ranking Iraqi military men, all of whom
asserted that Saddam had chemical weapons.
Right before the ground invasion of Iraq, an attempt to kill Saddam with an airstrike was made.
While Saddam was notoriously difficult to track, the CIA observed characteristic die-downs of
radio traffic whenever Saddam entered an area. It felt that it understood this pattern and thus
made the assassination attempt, which failed since Saddam in fact did not go to the location.
During the build up to war, the CIA had secretly contacted Iraqi commanders and spread
propaganda telling them to simply get rid of their uniforms and weapons when the fighting
started and go home. Most of the Iraqi soldiers did just that upon the American invasion, and
they never returned. In effect, the Iraqi military was mostly disbanded before Paul Bremer issued
his infamous order making it official.
Months after coalition forces secured Iraq, David Kay was assigned to lead a multinational task
force (the Iraq Survey Group—ISG) to locate Iraq’s WMD’s. He commanded more than 1,000
people, mostly from the CIA and U.S. military. After months of searching, Kay held a public
briefing in which he said the following had been learned:
-Iraq had been secretly developing a 1,000 km missile that could have threatened the whole
Middle East. Under U.N. sanctions, the country was prohibited from having missiles with a
range of more than 125 km.
-Small samples of pathogen seed stocks were found hidden with former Iraqi government
scientists, sometimes in freshly dug holes on their property.
-Saddam had been planning to revive his country’s centrifuge program to produce HEU.
-Iraq had no stockpiles of WMD’s.
Unfortunately, the public ignored the confirmed violations and only focused on the failure to find
WMD stockpiles.
The Bush administration erred in beginning the WMD search for months: many records and
samples were hidden, moved or destroyed by Saddam’s men.
The ISG also spoke with Saddam himself about the WMD program and issued its final report to
-There were no Iraqi WMD stockpiles in 2003.
-Iraq lacked the ability to make WMD’s in 2003.
-Saddam had a plan to restart his WMD programs in the late 2000’s, which was the timeframe in
which, based on then-present trends, the U.N. sanctions would have collapsed and world
attention would have shifted away.
-The U.N. Oil-For-Food program was so corrupt that it almost negated the effect of the
[Saddam also still had a terrible human rights record.]
Saddam’s bluffs about having WMD’s were primarily meant to deter the growing Iranian
military threat and widescale internal rebellion within Iraq. The U.S. was not the target audience.
Tenet describes the Bush administration’s planning for the Iraq occupation as disgraceful,
unrealistic, and seriously lacking in detail.
-No advance plans were made to rebuild the physical damage to the country.
-There was no agreement over what structure the new Iraqi government should have. The CIA,
NSC and State Department wanted an Iraqi-style pseudo-democracy similar to the new Afghan
government, while Dick Cheney and the Pentagon wanted a U.S.-controlled puppet government.
Legitimacy and stability were pitted against one another in this consideration. The different

agencies never resolved this disagreement, and the U.S. went to war without a clear plan
regarding the structure, function and principles of Iraq’s post-Saddam government.
-The Bush administration took the unwise gamble of accepting lowball troop estimates necessary
for the postwar occupation of Iraq. General Eric Shinseki said before the invasion that the
planned number of U.S. troops was insufficient to secure the country, but the Bush team ignored
Ahmad Chalabi and his exiled Iraqi National Congress kept pressuring the U.S. to install him
and his men as the new government of Iraq. Chalabi was a manipulative man with significant
support within the U.S. government, though some also opposed him from the beginning. [Ahmad
Chalabi comes from a wealthy Baghdad family and is a mathematical genius, having earned a
B.S. in math from MIT, a PhD in the same subject from the University of Chicago, and having
published several papers on advanced math afterwards. Only later did he involve himself with
Total de-Baathification was championed by Paul Wolfowitz, who drew analogies with the
situation in Germany right after WWII. However, not every Baathist was a rabid Saddam
follower or enemy of America: Under Saddam’s regime, professionals of all sorts were forced to
join the Baath party to keep their jobs or to get promotions. Many apolitical technocrats and
highly experienced workers were thus cut out of the Iraqi government by de-Baathification.
Their skills were, in fact, badly needed by the new Iraqi government.
As noted earlier, the CIA had predicted that a powerful Iraqi insurgency might arise after
Saddam, but it also operated under the assumption that the military would do a more competent
job of securing the country and thus labeled the insurgency scenario as being “worst case.”
Paul Bremer was the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority—a temporary government of
foreign occupation that led Iraq immediately after Saddam fell. The CPA was full of
inexperienced junior officers who lacked critical skills like knowledge of Arabic and Arab
culture, and poor decisions were made and priorities misarranged as a result. Bremer also made
decisions without first consulting the CIA and then stubbornly stuck to his rulings even after they
proved unwise.
CPA Order #1 mandated de-Baathification of Iraq. Ahmad Chalabi, a Shi’ite, was put in charge
of a committee that reviewed the records of former Baathists—the vast majority of whom were
Sunnis—and decided which could stay in the government. The committee banned 100,000
government employees, including 40,000 teachers.
CPA Order #2 officially disbanded the Iraqi army. This again hurt the Sunnis disproportionately
(Shi’ites filled the bottom rungs of the Iraqi army under Saddam) and put thousands of young
men with military training onto the streets of Iraq, where they faced unemployment and quickly
became criminals and insurgents. Tenet states that this order could have been reversed at any
point in the subsequent two weeks, and that the Iraqi army would have been invaluable securing
the borders and providing domestic security.
The first two CPA orders made it appear as if the U.S. was against the Sunnis, and marked the
beginning of the Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian divide.
The CPA resisted CIA suggestions to allow the Iraqis to form an intelligence service. The CIA
felt that the Iraqis could do the best job of spying on Iraqi insurgents.
The power vacuum that prevailed in post-Saddam Iraq thanks to insufficient American troops
badly shook Iraqis’ faith in their future and in the U.S., and allowed the insurgents to gain a
toehold that has taken years to destroy. The widespread looting was also very demoralizing to the

Until the end of 2003, the White House refused to acknowledge the rapidly deteriorating
conditions within Iraq even in spite of similar, troubling reports from across the military and
intelligence community. The Bush team originally tried to block the use of the word
“insurgency” because it made the situation look bad.
The Iraq War was perfect for al Qaeda. The group had been driven from Afghanistan and had
suffered very serious personnel losses to combat and arrest. The instability in Iraq provided them
with a new base, and the group was able to seize upon the Sunni-Shi’ite tensions for its own
Tenet told Bush that the U.S. needed to let the Iraqis form their own government by holding a
congress of different sects and tribes, that the Iraqi army needed to be re-formed (apparently, this
was still possible for a few weeks after CPA Order #2), and that de-Baathification had seriously
hurt the country and needed to be reversed. Bremer, who was also present during the meeting,
responded that there were no competent Iraqi leaders who could take charge of an Iraqi-led
government, that the old Iraqi army in fact was probably gone forever, and that the Shi’ites were
vehemently against re-Baathification.
The CPA and other elements within the Bush administration repeatedly undermined CIA
attempts to hold tribal meetings in Iraq to form the basis for a new government. Bremer and
others instead wanted to install Chalabi as leader.
Ayad Allawi was an Iraqi neurosurgeon tapped by the CIA to be Iraq’s new Defense Minister. He
initially declined, but soon afterwards petitioned for and received the post of Prime Minister.
Bremer became angry and this development because it looked like part of some hidden CIA plot
he was not party to.
After the invasion, Ahmad Chalabi and his INC moved to Iraq and took control of some
government buildings. The Department of Defense paid this group $350,000 monthly for access
to a steady stream of leaked Saddam papers that the INC had captured.
Bush was always privately wary of Chalabi, and his dislike for the man grew as time passed.
It was eventually discovered that Ahmad Chalabi was also selling sensitive information about the
U.S. to Iran. Chalabi further enraged the Americans when he went on 60 Minutes and blamed the
U.S. government for the intelligence failures that led up to the war, even though his group had
originated most of this bad intel and given it to the Americans for analysis. Chalabi’s offices
were raided soon thereafter.
The Iraqi National Congress only won 0.5% of the vote in the 2005 Iraqi elections. At that point,
the U.S. government stopped supporting him.
Tenet heavily blames the National Security Council for taking the nation to war against Iraq. The
Council consists of senior members from across the Executive Branch (most of whom do not
represent the military or intelligence community) and is tasked with assisting the President with
decisions concerning foreign policy and national security. Tenet claims that the group succumbed
to groupthink and did not provide the diversity of views that should have been present when
contemplating war.
While Paul Bremer made many mistakes, Tenet believes that this was not entirely his fault since
the Bush team put him into a very difficult situation with inadequate resources and
communication. [2007 Foreign Affairs article regarding Bremer’s forced use of junior officers]
Tenet believes that the U.S. had a strong case against going after Saddam Hussein due to
biochemical weapons violations, but that the nuclear accusations were weak.
The report that Iraq had attempted to obtain yellowcake from Niger was based on questionable
intelligence (Niger only has two sources of uranium: one is a mine that was flooded at the time

and the other was a French-controlled mine), and months before Bush proclaimed it as fact in his
2003 State of the Union address, Tenet had told the White House of the CIA’s concerns.
Furthermore, an Iraqi purchase of foreign yellowcake would have been purposeless since it
already had 550 tons of the chemical—enough to make ten nuclear weapons. [The Yellowcake
memo also proved itself to be an amateurish forgery]
The infamous “16 words” still made their way into the State of the Union address due to a series
of mistakes. First, separate teams in the White House and the CIA reviewed the speech. The
White House team did not consist of intelligence specialists, and they were unaware of the
questionable nature of the African yellowcake claims, so they put it in. The CIA team was only
tasked with making sure that any intelligence cited in the Address did not compromise intel
sources or methods; they did not assess the veracity of the cited intelligence. Second, Tenet
himself admits that he failed to review the edited draft of the State of the Union address, and that
if he had done so, he could have had the bogus intel excised in time.
For months after the Address, the press questioned the African yellowcake claims, but media
attention failed to reach critical mass until Joe Wilson’s July 2003 editorial in the New York
Times: “What I didn’t find in Africa.”
The media became vicious and obsessed over the issue. It ignored the fact that the accusation
that Saddam had tried to obtain Nigerian yellowcake had been a small rationale among many for
going to war, and the media blew the issue out of proportion to build the public impression that
the war had been totally unjustified and that all U.S. intelligence had been wrong.
Recriminations over responsibility for the mistake broke out immediately within the government.
Tenet was quickly chosen as being the one responsible for the mistake. He felt guilty, accepted
some of the blame and agreed to write a public statement declaring himself partly responsible.
But Rice had promised Tenet that the White House would also issue a statement accepting its
half of the blame and later reneged, leaving Tenet holding the bag. Tenet is very bitter about this
and views it as unfair.
It was at this point that Tenet began to seriously contemplate resigning at Director of Central
Intelligence and leaving the CIA. There were several reasons:
-Tenet’s life had become insanely busy as DCI during 9/11 and the Iraq War. Vacations were
basically impossible and his nights were frequently interrupted with phone calls.
-Tenet’s work prevented him from being a part of his son’s life.
-The media had made Tenet’s life a living hell over the yellowcake issue.
-Tenet had already spent six years as DCI and thought he had made a great contribution to the
intelligence community already.
-Experienced friends advised him to quit the post.
-In the aftermath of the yellowcake flap, Tenet and high-ranking members of the Bush team
developed a mutually antipathy and distrust that rendered it almost impossible to work together.
Tenet had a good personal relationship with Bush until the very end, but Tenet left hating Bush’s
George W. Bush met privately with Tenet’s son once he learned that the son was very upset over
the media publicly destroying Tenet. Bush’s father (George H.W. Bush) had also been DCI when
the younger Bush was 30.
The date and manner of Tenet’s resignation were carefully chosen to avoid disruption. He
resigned June 3rd, 2004.

U.S. intelligence services need more money and need large amounts of time to build good
relations with foreign intelligence services that will yield fruitful sharing of intelligence.
The U.S. missed its chance to renew the Middle East peace process after Yassir Arafat’s death in
November 2004.
The U.S. erred in contemplating an Iraq invasion in a vacuum: In reality, all events in the Middle
East are connected.
Iran and Syria must be brought to the bargaining table if the U.S. ever wants peace in Iraq. Both
have a vested interest in not having Iraq degenerate into civil war, as an Iraqi Sunni-Shi’ite war
could spill over into Syria and Iran, which both have mixed religious populations. The U.S.
should have engaged Syria right after the Iraq invasion. By being hostile to them instead, it
merely forced Syria and Iran into a closer alliance.
Tenet is critical of the post-9/11 reorganization of the intelligence community. He finds it
disgraceful that George W. Bush and John Kerry politicized the issue by both endorsing the
recommendations of the 9/11 Commission within 24 hours—nowhere near enough time to
seriously digest the proposals and their implications.
Policymakers must remember that even good intelligence can only reveal 60% of the picture, and
good imagination and judgment on the part of the policymakers are needed to fill in the gaps and
make sound decisions.
Democracy in the Muslim Middle East is impossible right now. Instead, the U.S. should focus on
encouraging the precursors for democracy: civil society, education and stable economies.
Middle Easterners mistakenly equate elections alone with democracy. This is dangerous and
typically leads to nondemocratic extremists gaining power. The extremists use the elections as a
gangplank to dictatorship and never relinquish their power.
The January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections are a prime example of this. Both Israel
and Fatah wanted to postpone the elections because they knew Hamas would win, but the U.S.
insisted they proceed. Hamas won, the U.S. looked to the Palestinians like it was supporting the
group, and Hamas’ rise to power has totally crippled the peace process ever since.
The 2007 troop surge should have happened 2 or 3 years before that, before sectarian warfare
and ethnic cleansing destroyed Iraqis’ sense of nationhood and reduced them to tribal and ethnic
identification. A military solution to the problems in Iraq is impossible because the U.S. lacks the
troops and the will to suppress all Iraqi problems forever with physical force. Long-term stability
will only come to Iraq once the different political factions agree to cooperate and bury old
Interrogation methods that deny terrorists access to lawyers and that use “rough” methods do
provide very valuable intelligence, as does domestic spying. A ban on these would increase the
odds of a successful terrorist attack inside America. Tenet believes that the public needs to have
this debate over the appropriate balance between ethics and national security, and that the CIA
and lawmakers must inform the public about the different facets of the issue and then implement
whatever proves to be the popular attitude. Postponing this until the day after the next 9/11 will
cause the pendulum to swing too far against civil liberties.
While military and paramilitary action will always have its place in the War on Terror, Americans
must realize that the War will never be won with force alone.
-The U.S. needs to improve and maintain relationships with foreign intelligence services—
specifically in the Middle East—to expand its intelligence and strike capabilities.
-The U.S. needs to infiltrate the terrorist breeding grounds and work to eradicate the conditions
that cause people to become terrorists: education, economic development, free trade, religious

moderation, and fair, effective government must spread throughout the Muslim world [a mention
of “democracy” is notably missing].
-Islamic leaders must condemn violence in the name of Islam instead of encouraging it or turning
a blind eye. The U.S. cannot possibly force them to do this.
Primary problems within the intelligence community:
-There is no single place for the analysis of foreign and domestic intelligence.
-The intelligence community is overcentralized and became more so after 9/11. Instead, the
different intelligence organizations should be able to more freely speak with and share with one
another without having to go through higher ranks for permission.
-Police officers, first responders and FBI field agents need to have access to a central, computer-
based intelligence dissemination system that is fed pertinent threat reports from the national
intelligence agencies. We need to start thinking of these U.S. groups as frontline soldiers against
terrorism. Tenet says that the 9/11 Commission totally failed to recognize the need for reforms to
domestic intelligence like this.
-A new, domestic spy agency separate from the FBI would be a good idea.