This is Statement by Tenet, on Aug 22 2008. It is the second (or third? do you count the whitehouse thing?) public statement made by him on the book The Way of the World.
authenticity of sttement Edit
(how do we know its really Tenet?)
text of statement Edit
" Statement from George J. Tenet
For Immediate Release August 22, 2008
Washington, DC --
The statement released by the CIA today should put to rest the baseless allegations contained in Ron Suskind’s book “The Way of the World.”
The two main nuggets of news alleged in Suskind’s 400+ page book:
– that the United States went to war knowing that Iraq had no WMD,
– and that the Administration ordered CIA to falsify information after the war showing an Iraqi-al Qa’ida connection – are demonstrably false in every regard.
To tick off just a few of the errors in this one section of his book:
Suskind said the U.S. and the U. K. arranged a meeting with Habbush prior to the war
- We did not.
He said that the head of MI-6 flew to the US to brief me on these meetings
- He did not
He said that Habbush convinced us that Iraq had no WMD
- He did not
He said that the White House ignored this conclusion
- There was no such conclusion for them to ignore
He said CIA resettled Habbush in Jordan
- We did not settle him there or anywhere else
He said CIA paid Habbush $5 million in “hush money”
- We paid him not a cent
He said the White House ordered me to fabricate a letter tying Iraq to al Qa’ida.
- There was no such order
He said I passed the direction to senior members of my staff
- Again, there was no such order to pass.
Beyond me, virtually every individual that Suskind cites in his book to establish his claims has publicly disputed his account. This includes:
Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI-6,
Nigel Inkster, Dearlove’s former Deputy,
Rob Richer, the then-head of Near East Operations for CIA and
John Maguire, the then-Acting head of CIA’s Iraq Operations Group
Mr. Suskind has admitted that he failed to ask me about the crimes of which he alleges I was involved. Mr. Suskind failed in his duty as a journalist. He is not required to believe me – but journalistic ethics should have required him at least to ask.
He claims that CIA followed White House orders and participated in an illegal act justifying the war and that this illegal order might be sufficient to justify the impeachment of the President of the United States.
It is ridiculous to think that the White House would give me such an order and even more ridiculous to think that I would carry it out.
As I said in my earlier statement, it is well known that I consistently fought with some Administration officials to prevent them from overstating the case for Iraqi involvement in international terrorism. You don’t have to read my book to know that. There was another book, published in 2006 that, while it had many flaws, accurately described my making very heated calls to the White House on this subject.
According to that book: “And that’s why, three weeks later, in making the case for war in his state of the Union address, George W. Bush was not able to say what he’d long hoped to say at such a moment, that there was a pre: 9/11 connection between al Qaeda and Saddam.” That is a quote from “The One Percent Doctrine” by Ron Suskind. "
tick off a fewEdit
Let us, shall we not, break down each of Tenet's claims into more detail?
Denies the U.S. and the U. K. arranged a meeting with Habbush prior to the warEdit
"[Habbush] could be reasoned with, Shipster said, and he knew how to get to him. The heads of both the UK and U.S. intelligence services - Dearlove and Tenet - were apprised, and the two Mideast chiefs went to work" pg 363, The Way of the World, Suskind.
Does Tenet deny there was any communication between Habbush and US and/or UK intelligence services before the war? That would make virtually everything written on pgs 363-367 of The Way of the World is totally wrong, including quotes from Rob Richer and John Maguire. There are numerous details about phone calls, plans, the Iraq Operations Group, and so forth, related to pre-war communication with Habbush. Is Tenet saying all that is wrong? Is Tenet saying Michael Shipster did not meet with Habbush before the war?
Denies the head of MI-6 flew to the US to brief Tenet on these meetingsEdit
on pg 366, The Way of the World, Ron says that Dearlove flew to Washington to present the Habbush Report to Tenet. Ron claims that Tenet read it. So Tenet is denying this... does Dearlove deny this? Is Tenet saying there was no report? Is Tenet saying he did not read the report?
What is Suskind's source for this information?
Would there be records of such a meeting? Where is the report? When did the meeting happen, and where?
Says that Suskind says that Habbush convinced us that Iraq had no WMD Edit
I cannot seem to find this in the book. A casual reader might think that was implied, but Suskind seems to clearly avoid making that claim. His point would seem to be that Habbush never had a chance to convince the government, because communication was cut off. Or.. that what Habbush did communicate, was doubt, that should have been payed more attention to.
Says that Suskind says that the White House ignored this conclusion Edit
Again, I don't understand where Suskind says the CIA was convinced by Habbush there were no WMDs. He talks about the doubts in several places.
Pg 367 : " Richer tried to reassure [Tenet], saying it was a complex picture about WMD and 'there's a lot we know, though there are still questions'"
If Suskind is saying the Whitehouse 'ignored' anything, it was that they ignore the possibility that there were no WMDs. Is Tenet denying that? I haven't read Tenet's book yet, maybe you have and can edit this section?
Denies the CIA resettled Habbush in Jordan Edit
pg 369, The Way of the World,
"At around this time, CIA worked out specifics of its arrangement "to resettle" the forer Iraqi intelligence chief. The agency agreed to pay him $5 million out of CIA's accounts. The amount, Richer says, was based "on an assessment of the information he provided and what he might provide in the future"
Pg 373, The Way of the World. "[The White House] secretly resettled him in Jordan"
"We did not settle him there or anywhere else" - George Tenet, Aug 22nd 2008 statement
What is suskind's source for this information? What is Tenets? Is Tenet talking about the CIA or the whole US government ? How did two different versions of this story come to these two men? Where is the disagreement on so basic a fact coming from?
Denies CIA paid Habbush $5 million in “hush money” Edit
see the section on 'resettlement'.
"- We paid him not a cent" - George Tenet Aug 22 2008 statement
Denies the White House ordered me to fabricate a letter tying Iraq to al Qa’ida. Edit
"- There was no such order" - Tenet, aug 22 2008 statement
q: does Suskind's book say that the CIA forged the letter? or does it say that the whitehouse ordered it?
"The White House had concoted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam backdated to July 1, 2001. It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq . . . The letter also mentioned suspicious shipments to Iraq from Niger set up with al Qaeda's assistance. Th idea was to take the letter to Habbush and have him transcribe it in his own neat handwriting on a piece of Iraq government stationery, to make it look legitimate. CIA would then take the finished product to Baghdad and have someone release it to the media." pg 371, The Way of the World, Suskind
See Habbush Letter.
Q: does Tenet deny there was anything having to do with a Habbush letter? That there was anything related to Habbush at all?
Denies he passed the direction to senior members of my staff Edit
"- Again, there was no such order to pass. " - tenet aug 22 2008 statement
Q: did the whitehouse make any orders at all about habbush to tenet? to anyone else?
Why did Ron not interview Tenet for the book? Wouldn't it have been common courtesy? Or no? would tenet have agreed?