A basic tenet of public life, part 7

In the Washington Post column “How the CIA failed America,” Richard Perle responds to George Tenet and to Tenet’s false anecdote about him in Tenet’s new book. Perle writes:

Understandably anxious to counter the myth that we went into Iraq on the basis of his agency’s faulty intelligence, Tenet seeks to substitute another myth: that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein resulted from the nefarious influence of the vice president and a cabal of neoconservative intellectuals. To advance that idea, a theme of his book, he has attributed to me, and to others, statements that were never made.
Careful readers will see at once that what Tenet calls “corroboration” [of Tenet’s memory regarding Perle’s purported statement quoted by Tenet] is nothing of the sort. But Tenet is not a careful reader — a serious deficiency in a CIA director and a catastrophe for an intelligence organization. Indeed, sloppy analysis and imprecision with evidence got Tenet and the rest of us stuck in a credibility gap that continues to damage our foreign policy.
***
George Tenet and, more important, our premier intelligence organization managed to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist while failing to find links to terrorists that did — all while missing completely the rise of Islamist fundamentalism. We have made only a down payment on the price of that failure.

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