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CIA Chief Clueless on New Conservative (NeoCon) Intelligence

March 11, 2004 by Jim Lobe

Was Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet really the last person in Washington to find out that both the president and vice president were being fed phony or “sexed up” intelligence about prewar Iraq by a Pentagon office staffed by ideologically driven neoconservatives?

It is highly doubtful, but in his desperate attempt to walk a tightrope between his increasingly irreconcilable loyalties to the administration of President George W. Bush and to his own intelligence professionals, Tenet is suggesting that he really was in the dark about what was going on just a few miles down the Potomac River from CIA headquarters.

Just a month ago, in a rousing defense of the intelligence community’s professionalism, Tenet boasted to students at Georgetown University that he and only he was the sole purveyor of intelligence information to the president.

But on Tuesday he admitted to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was unaware until just last week that officials based in the Pentagon’s policy office had given intelligence briefings directly to the White House.

“Is that a normal thing to happen, that there (is) a formal analysis relative to intelligence that would be presented to the NSC (National Security Council) that way, without you even knowing about it”? an incredulous Democratic senator, Carl Levin, asked Tenet during contentious hearings.

“I don’t know. I’ve never been in the situation,” Tenet replied, insisting, “I have to tell you senator, I’m the president’s chief intelligence officer; I have the definitive view about these subjects.”

“I know you feel that way,” Levin said, betraying a hint of sarcasm.

The exchange reflected the latest development in what is building into one of the biggest intelligence crises in modern U.S. history, one the administration is trying desperately, but with increasing difficulty, to quash.

The scandal, which is based on Washington’s … To read complete story click here

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