Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A recently declassified internal CIA report eviscerated Clinton holdover George Tenet's actions as head of the agency when it came to dealing with counterterrorism.
The CIA inspector general's report was buried and kept secret for three years, and the report's 19-page Executive Summary was only posted on the CIA's Web site after pressure from congressional members who threatened to legislate its release. The purpose of the IG report was to decide whether any CIA employees should be disciplined for failures in intelligence actions related to the 9/11 attacks.
Unlike the politically motivated 9/11 Commission,the IG's report was designed to name names and ferret out responsible parties...which is exactly why it was buried.
According to the report, The CIA had no concerted strategy to deal with al Qaeda in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks and was guilty of numerous multiple analytical and operational errors that effectively prevented the CIA from stopping the attack.
The report unequivocally states that the CIA and its officers "did not discharge their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner."
Considering that President Clinton was otherwise engaged and that his own attorney general prevented the Able/Danger group from sharing intel on Mohammed Atta and the other 9/11 attackers with other intelligence agencies, I'd say the failure goes a little deeper than the CIA and its officers, but nevertheless, the new report is a breath of fresh air compared to what's gone on previously.
According to the report, the CIA was guilty of "failure to implement and manage important processes, to follow through with operations, and to properly share and analyze critical data."
It faults Tenet directly for failing to resolve conflicts with other agencies like the NSA, and says bluntly that Tenet "did not use all of his authorities in leading the intelligence community's strategic effort against" bin Laden.
Mr. Tenet was "either unwilling or unable to marshal the full range of [intelligence community] resources necessary to combat the growing threat to the United States," the report said.
Interestingly, it also notes that the CIA was restricted by post-Watergate "dirty asset" rules that limited recruitment( guess who put those rules in place) and relied too heavily on `foreign agencies' for information. In particular, the report says that CIA ties to Saudi Arabia limited the agency's ability to understand and stop al Qaeda.
Fancy that...they were actually relying on the Saudis for intelligence on jihad!
Of course, the blame doesn't totally revolve around President Clinton and his administration. The report recommended that the CIA should create an "accountability board" of non-CIA personnel to review the failures..something the Bush Administration never did, in an obvious effort to keep a few things buried and cover a few bureaucratic assets.
I would also mention that, knowing what the Bush Administration knew about the Clinton Administration's attitude towards intelligence and national security, keeping George Tenet in place was likely a serious error.
That became apparent later when Tenet allied with then Secretary of State Colin Powell to recommend the occupation of Iraq and `Arab democracy', as opposed to the Rumsfeld-Cheney recommendation of a major punitive strike against Iran that would cripple Saddam's WMD and military capacity but avoid a US occupation, with all that it entailed.
President Bush opted for Tenet and Powell's plan...with some unfortunate results.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 1:35 PM