Tenet and Honor

An Angry Man?

My New York Sun column today is about George Tenet. Tenet talked a lot about “honor” in his interview with Scott Pelley of CBS. But he seems to operate on a very narrow definition of the word. I write:

“With the diminishing popularity of the war and the spirit of the American people waning, Mr. Tenet has determined that this is the right time for him to release a controversial and self-serving memoir, ‘At the Center of the Storm.’

His sense of outrage over the “slam dunk” leak was absent on December 14, 2004, when President Bush draped the Medal of Freedom around his neck. This illustrious moment, when Mr. Tenet stood with fellow recipients of the award who are also associated with the Iraq war, the former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer, and General Tommy Franks, came seven months after Robert Woodward reported Mr. Tenet’s slam dunk comment in his book, ‘Plan of Attack.’

Honor, it seems, would dictate that Mr. Tenet should have declined to accept the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award. At the ceremony Mr. Tenet called President Bush ‘a great man who supports and appreciates’ what the CIA does.

By his current telling, Mr. Tenet was skeptical of a post-September 11 war with Iraq. ‘It never made any sense,’ he told Scott Pelley of ’60 Minutes.’ If Mr. Tenet is telling the truth, that the prospect of a war with Iraq made no sense to him, then as the nation’s leading intelligence official he ought to have done what most would consider the “honorable” thing, and resigned.”

Tenet’s now starting to remind me of Robert McNamara, who years after the war claimed he knew it was lost early on. If he knew it was lost, why did he stay?

One Response to “Tenet and Honor”

  1. David Says:

    Couldn’t agree more, SG – check out:


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