Former CIA Boss George Tenet Leading Plans To Attack Upcoming Senate Report On CIA's Torture Program

from the it-will-impact-his-legacy dept

As we continue to wait for the White House to finally release the heavily redacted version of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report (the full report is over 6,300 pages and cost $40 million to produce), it appears that those who are likely to take the blame are already preparing their response. As has already leaked out over the past few months, the report will show how the program went further than people expected, that it basically uncovered no terrorist plots and that the CIA regularly lied to Congress about the nature of the program and its impact. The CIA, led by current boss John Brennan, has hit back against these conclusions, but it appears that those who were actually in power during the torture program are even more worried. Former CIA boss George Tenet, who was already considered something of a disgrace for the CIA’s intelligence failures prior to invading Iraq, is apparently working hard behind the scenes to coordinate an attack on the credibility of the report — because it pretty clearly is going to attack his credibility.

Just after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted in April to declassify hundreds of pages of a withering report on the Central Intelligence Agency?s detention and interrogation program, C.I.A. Director John O. Brennan convened a meeting of the men who had played a role overseeing the program in its seven-year history.

The spies, past and present, faced each other around the long wooden conference table on the seventh floor of the C.I.A.?s headquarters in Northern Virginia: J. Cofer Black, head of the agency?s counterterrorism center at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks; the undercover officer who now holds that job; and a number of other former officials from the C.I.A.?s clandestine service. Over the speakerphone came the distinctive, Queens-accented voice of George J. Tenet.

Over the past several months, Mr. Tenet has quietly engineered a counterattack against the Senate committee?s voluminous report, which could become public next month.

Apparently Tenet and others demanded early access to the report, and eventually Dianne Feinstein, the White House and those former CIA officials negotiated a deal letting them read the report over in James Clapper’s offices. The NY Times report also details how Brennan is basically a Tenet lackey whose rise through the ranks occurred under Tenet — making it more likely that Brennan wants to protect the reputation of his former boss.

We’ll see how this eventual “response” comes out, but given the initial leaks from the report, it sounds like it’s going to be fairly devastating, and make a further mockery of Tenet. As the report linked above also notes, back in 2007 Tenet got angry at a 60 Minutes interviewer and started wagging his finger at the correspondent, while insisting “We don’t torture people!”

Wagging a finger at the correspondent, Scott Pelley, Mr. Tenet said over and over, ?We don?t torture people.?

?No, listen to me. No, listen to me. I want you to listen to me,? he went on. ?Everybody forgets one central context of what we lived through: The palpable fear that we felt on the basis of that fact that there was so much we did not know. I know that this program has saved lives. I know we?ve disrupted plots.?

It’s pretty easy to say that when no one can fact-check you. But it appears that the report is going to point out that almost none of what Tenet said was true. No wonder he’s so concerned about leading the attack on the report.

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Comments on “Former CIA Boss George Tenet Leading Plans To Attack Upcoming Senate Report On CIA's Torture Program”

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44 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

And here I was thinking a war crime had occurred, but if someone from the CIA denied it...

Wagging a finger at the correspondent, Scott Pelley, Mr. Tenet said over and over, “We don’t torture people.”

Because obviously calling it something else, in this case ‘enhanced interrogation'(and really, whatever piece of scum thought up that term deserves the suffering of sleepless and/or nightmare filled nights for the rest of their life, and then some), it magically becomes ‘not torture’. /s

Wyden needs to follow up on his threat and release the report, unredacted, because after having both the CIA, and the WH go through with it with black markers, the thing is going to be little more than a detail-less joke if it ever is released, and will be insanely easy for those that should be held responsible for their actions, to instead spin what few unredacted details remain as ‘not as bad as it looks’, because without the actual details available, it will be impossible to counter them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And here I was thinking a war crime had occurred, but if someone from the CIA denied it...

Wydens intentions are not really worth much unless he acts on them and even then it will need a political process that can very well stop it. The reason the threat is worth something is because the report is getting redacted at the moment and a threat like this against too harsh redactions could make them think twice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Former CIA boss George Tenet, who was already considered something of a disgrace for the CIA’s intelligence failures prior to invading Iraq…

Intelligence “failure.” Whatever your personal theories are on why the US invaded Iraq, there was a sizable enough quantity of evidence to disprove the WMD claims before invasion…

David says:

Just wow.

Wagging a finger at the correspondent, Scott Pelley, Mr. Tenet said over and over, “We don’t torture people.”

“No, listen to me. No, listen to me. I want you to listen to me,” he went on. “Everybody forgets one central context of what we lived through: The palpable fear that we felt on the basis of that fact that there was so much we did not know. I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots.”

Actually, that’s straight what a Grand Inquisitor would have stated in the Middle Ages. Except for the “we don’t torture people” bit of course since the Grand Inquisitors were learned men and would not have meddled in non-sequiturs and obvious falsehoods.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

Assume this statement is true, for a moment

“I know that this program has saved lives.”

Let’s take him at his word for it — against all experience, which suggests that this man lies, lies, lies at every opportunity.

The problem is that’s not the mission. The mission is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and if that means that people have to die — CIA officers, military personnel, or civilians — then, sadly, that’s what’s required.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“The palpable fear that we felt on the basis of that fact that there was so much we did not know.”

You were involved in an agency that is supposed to know stuff, and you had no fscking clue what was going on in the area you are charged with watching.
Then to save face you tortured people to find ANYTHING you could show off as a trophy… the trophy you got for us was a very bad one. We won the award for torturing people who did nothing wrong, and ignited deeper hatred for the country who dares speak out about human rights while taking them away from their “enemies” who made the mistake of being brown non-christians.

Well done.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Another lie

“Everybody forgets one central context of what we lived through: The palpable fear that we felt on the basis of that fact that there was so much we did not know.

This is just a lie. Nobody forgets that. It’s just that an awful lot of people don’t agree (and never have) that the “palpable fear” justifies torturing people.

Anonymous Coward says:

One has to ask the obvious question in this. How did the CIA and the NSA get all this power to spy on anyone or to do the things they’ve been busted lying on?

Since they have the goods on everyone, I suggest that blackmail in the halls of power, the halls of the judiciary, and for the local politicians are the key to getting everything they seek. As long as they could keep a lid on everything no one was going to ask questions.

Snowden has crippled that method in that those talking well of these agencies that have so broken constitutional law are suspect. Lots of tiptoeing today you didn’t see earlier.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I suggest that blackmail in the halls of power, the halls of the judiciary, and for the local politicians are the key to getting everything they seek

While that is not impossible, the simpler answer is just that politicians simply believed that they were working to make us safer. In truth, most of them probably were actually trying to make us safer.

I doubt even today that the heads of the CIA and NSA are intentionally being nefarious or doing anything that they think is unnecessary. I think a lot of bending the rules for the “right” reasons has taken us somewhere we didn’t want to go.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What purpose of all this info, including spying on congress, the then senator and future president Obama, or even the spying done by the CIA over the oversight committee that was investigating all this?

If you look at Obama alone, he has done a 180° change from his actions as a senator, his stated actions he would take as campaign promises, and his actions today which reflect wholehearted support for the very things we as citizens are having problems accepting.

There is no need for all this data on everyone, right down to the claims of what you email, who you talk with, these hops as they call it, unless you intend to use them. J Edgar Hoover did this very thing so don’t believe it can’t happen here. I strongly suspect it is and has been ongoing for considerable time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If this report were not a condemnation of what the security agencies do wrong, why is this battle being fought over it. That action in and by itself tells me more than any words I am hearing.

It paints a picture of an agency, the leaders know beyond doubt, exceeded it’s authority, tried everything it could to hide that, and now plans on trying to paint it as ok.

The issue here is that it is not ok and the actions of both the agency as well as the past heads of office states that more than anything I am hearing in words. It is actions, not words, that speak of intent when you have serial liars talking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why was the location an issue?

[Feinstein] initially insisted they be allowed to review it only at the committee’s office. … Obama’s chief of staff … intervened and brokered an arrangement in which the officials could read … the report … at the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Why did the they balk at reading it at the committee’s office? What advantage did they get by reading it at the DNI’s office?

Anonymous Coward says:

Sacrifices

As a US citizen I am willing to sacrifice a substantial portion of the administration, legislature and intelligence community to preserve the US Constitution. After that we can cleanup other outliers like the judicial and DOJ that seem so willing and anxious to violate our rights in the name of FUD, secrecy and security. This whole process is spelled out in the Constitution and is perfectly legal and necessary to preserve the union. Any nay-Sayers target themselves as traitors.

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