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May 5, 2007

Tenet's Failures

by Gordon Prather

The National Security Act of 1947 created the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, making said DCI responsible for providing "timely, objective, independent of political considerations" intelligence, "based upon all sources available to the intelligence community" to the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, and – "where appropriate" – Congressional Committees.

The Act also established the Central Intelligence Agency to "assist" the DCI "in carrying out the Director’s responsibilities" under the Act and established the National Intelligence Council within the Office of the DCI whose principal responsibility was to "produce national intelligence estimates for the Government, including, whenever the Council considers appropriate, alternative views held by elements of the intelligence community."

George John Tenet was DCI from July 1997 to July 2004.

Did Tenet, relying on all sources available to the intelligence community, always keep Congressional committees informed, when and where appropriate?

Tenet was acting DCI in December 1996 when the absolutely mind-blowing mishandling and misuse of highly classified data by departing DCI John Deutch was discovered by horrified CIA investigators.

For years, Deutch had been creating data files on personal computers at his homes and on portable memory cards. Many of these files were based upon "Sensitive Compartmented Information" and upon "Special Access Programs," and Deutch had reportedly shared this information – via e-mail – with various White House officials (and perhaps others) not "read in" to these highly classified programs.

By law, as Acting DCI, Tenet was required to immediately notify the Justice Department and file a "crimes report."

But Tenet apparently didn't file a "crimes report" until March 1998.

Why not?

Well, in December 1997 – a year after the Deutch crimes had been discovered – President Clinton proceeded to appoint Deutch to be Chairman of the Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction!

Tenet – by then officially DCI – reportedly ignored the recommendations of his own CIA investigators and provided Deutch the high-level security clearances he would need to function as Chairman.

Do you suppose Tenet informed the Vice-Chairman of that commission, Senator Arlen Specter, about the absolutely mind-blowing crimes Deutch had committed as DCI? Or Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott? Or Speaker Dennis Hastert?

Apparently, Tenet didn't get around to officially telling Congress about Deutch’s mind-blowing crimes until February 2000, more than six months after the Commission had finished its work and published its report.

(On his last day in office, President Clinton pardoned Deutch for those mind-blowing crimes.)

Now, scroll back to 1995, when Tenet was CIA Deputy Director.

General Hussein Kamal – Saddam's son-in-law – had just defected to Jordan carrying with him thousands of documents on Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" program.

Kamal was extensively interrogated by the CIA, and by Rolf Ekeus of the UN Special Commission and Maurizio Zifferero of the International Atomic Energy Agency Action Team on Iraq.

Zifferero's confidential interview notes were not made public – "leaked" – until December of 2002.

You see, Vice President Cheney had declared on August 26, 2002, on national TV that

"We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from first hand testimony from defectors, including Saddam's own son-in-law."

Ziffereo’s notes show Kamal told the CIA and IAEA the exact opposite!

Furthermore, by the time Tenet became DCI, Zifferero had verified that Kamal had told the truth in every detail.

Another reason for the leak of Ziffereo’s notes was that Khirdir Hamza – who had been allowed to leave Iraq in 1995 and had never returned – had been representing himself ever since to the CIA et al. as having been in charge of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.

On the eve of the 2000 election Hamza had published "Saddam’s Bombmaker," and David A. Kay – yes, that David Kay – was quoted on the book's cover thusly:

"I would urge that this book be required reading for the next American president, because as Dr. Hamza makes clear, as long as Saddam remains in power, he will seek weapons of mass destruction to dominate the Middle East."

And, in the fall of 2002, neo-crazy high-priest Richard Perle – then Chairman of the Defense Policy Board – was making the rounds "inside the Beltway" with Hamza in tow.

Thanks to Perle, Hamza even testified before congressional committees, at least once in company with David Kay – yes, that David Kay – their testimony carried by C-SPAN.

According to Hamza the Iraqis were secretly reconstituting a nuke program and would have several nukes in a matter of months, not years.

But, as Ziffereo’s notes make clear, Kamal had told the CIA and the UN inspectors that all Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" and the makings thereof had been destroyed, either during the Gulf War or under his orders in the years immediately thereafter.

By 1995, according to Kamal, "Nothing remained"!

The UN inspectors did not make Kamal’s testimony public at the time because they wanted to keep Saddam Hussein guessing. Had Kamal really told the UN inspectors everything?

By 1997 the UN inspectors were able to verify that everything Kamal had told them was the truth.

So, did DCI Tenet provide this intelligence to the "appropriate" Congressional Committees?

In August, 1998, Congress passed the Iraqi Breach of International Obligations Joint Resolution wherein – after finding that "Iraq’s continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threaten vital United States interests and international peace and security" – Congress "urged" the President "to take appropriate action to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations."

In December, 1998, to the horror of other Security Council members, Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox, a multi-day assault on Baghdad by bombers and cruise missiles "to degrade Saddam Hussein’s ability to make and use weapons of mass destruction."

It should be noted that a CIA team headed by David Kay – yes, that David Kay – got access to all Saddam’s documents in the immediate aftermath of Gulf War II. The team eventually reported to Congress that as a consequence of Kamal’s defection, Saddam had ordered all agency heads to make sure that they had cooperated fully with UN inspectors, had given them every relevant document.

But, back to Kamal and Hamza.

In 1995 Hamza had apparently provided the CIA a document and someone had faxed the IAEA a copy. Zifferero showed Kamal the document, which purported to have been sent by a "member of the Special Committee" to General Kamal.

Quoth Kamal:

"It is a false document. It is full of mistakes. The author has no knowledge. The first phrase in the letter is wrong. The data in the right upper corner is wrong."

Only then did Zifferero tell Kamal that the ‘false document’ was somehow related to Hamza.

Quoth Kamal:

"He [Hamza] is a professional liar. He worked with us, but he was useless and was always looking for promotions. He consulted with me but could not deliver anything. Yes, his original name is Khidir, but we called him Hazem. [After the war] He went [first] to Baghdad University, then left Iraq. He is very bad."

So, Tenet must have known all along that Hamza was a fraud. Nevertheless, he apparently didn’t warn appropriate Congressional committees.

Hence, in addition to providing Congress a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq which had been "fixed around the policy," Tenet also apparently failed to tell Congress in a timely manner about crimes he knew had been – and were being – committed within the intelligence community.

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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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