What about Tenet? All the chatter — not to mention simple logic — says he was fired. The Times gets it right when they say that the way this was announced was “almost bizarre.”
Actually, here concision should be the handmaiden of precision. Drop the “almost”. It was bizarre.
Thus the Times …
Mr. Bush announced the resignation in a way that was almost bizarre. He had just addressed reporters and photographers in a fairly innocuous Rose Garden session with Australia’s prime minister, John Howard. Then the session was adjourned, as Mr. Bush apparently prepared to depart for nearby Andrews Air Force Base and his flight to Europe, where he is to take part in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Normady invasion and meet European leaders â some of whom have been sharply critical of the campaign in Iraq.
But minutes later, Mr. Bush reappeared on the sun-drenched White House lawn, stunning listeners with the news of Mr. Tenet’s resignation, which the president said would be effective in mid-July. Until then, Mr. Bush said, the C.I.A.’s deputy director, John McLaughlin, will be acting director.
The president praised Mr. Tenet’s qualities as a public servant, saying: “He’s strong. He’s resolute. He’s served his nation as the director for seven years. He has been a strong and able leader at the agency. He’s been a, he’s been a strong leader in the war on terror, and I will miss him.”
Then Mr. Bush walked away, declining to take questions or offer any insight into what Mr. Tenet’s personal reasons might be.
The more interesting <$Ad$>question is whether we get to hear from Tenet before he grabs the one-way for Guantanamo.
Word has been out for some time that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on intelligence failures is terrible for Tenet. So that could be a cause of his resignation.
For my part, Tenet strikes me as a sort of tragic figure. Under his tenure the CIA got many things wrong about Iraq — though largely by making estimates in the direction his critics, who now want him sacked, embraced. (A person who’s intimately knowledgeable about this intel stuff recently told me that their sense was that the CIA would have gotten a lot of the basic intel stuff wrong without any help from Chalabi.) Then, on top of these errors, the White House added further gross exaggerations, which in many instances Tenet tried to knock down.
Now he’s the fall-guy for it all, in all likelihood made to take the fall by the true bad-actors.
Having said all that, beside the possibility that the White House’s favored Iraqi exile was an Iranian agent, that the spy chief just got canned, that the OSD is wired to polygraphs, and that the president has had to retain outside counsel in the investigation into which members of his staff burned one of the country’s own spies, I’d say the place is being run like a pretty well-oiled machine.