Letâs call it the overt response and the covert response.
As we noted on Friday, thereâs a pretty clear effort afoot to pin the whole intel debacle on the CIA. According to this new storyline, the White House didnât deceive the country. They were themselves led down the garden path by the CIA.
(The next TPM Featured Book is going to be The Day I Woke Up as a Character in a Kafka Novel by George Tenet with Joseph Persico. But the pub date is still a few years off. So I may have to wait to post.)
In the Times on Saturday you have what you might call the official unofficial response from the Agency, a testy push-back from âfour senior intelligence officials."
Here are the two key grafs â¦
In other words, these guys are living in fantasy land.
The senior intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as they outlined findings from a 405-page review being conducted by the National Intelligence Council, said David Kay, the American heading the search for illicit weapons in Iraq, would ultimately determine if the C.I.A. had been right.
"We don't think what we did was deficient, we don't think it was sloppy, and we're waiting to see what David finds to see whether we got it right," a senior official said. In an interim report this month, Mr. Kay said his team had not yet found any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in Iraq. The search is to be completed sometime next year.
Nothingâs wrong. It's not that we share blame for the problems: there were no problems. Everything we said was right. David Kay is going to find the weapons. And then everything will be cool.
Up-is-downism would appear to be a pretty catchy malady.
Rather than living in fantasy land, itâs probably better to say that their positions and their complicity in the mess compel them to act as though theyâre living in fantasy land.
What everyone is waiting for now is the other shoe to drop, the slow seep of leaks coming out of the Agency, and from the cadre of ex-CIA types who still have channels back in. In their own way, many of these folks are as embittered at Tenet as they are with the White House.
(Hersh's piece in The New Yorker is a preview.)
And even with Tenet, the picture isnât so clear. Remember what happened the last time he âfell on his swordâ for the White House?
More on this laterâ¦