Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tenet's Damning Disclaimer

George Tenet, CIA chief from July 1997 to June 2004, is making the rounds to promote his memoir, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. He's particularly concerned about his "slam dunk" comment (aren't we all?) and how he claims it was used out of context to prove that he stood behind all the (phony) intelligence indicating Saddam Hussein had WMD and was a grave and gathering threat to us, our allies, and the rest of the world.

However, his convoluted explanation for when and how he used the "slam dunk" phrase sounds to me like an overt confession that he participated in creating the snow job, no, the avalanche of propaganda disseminated to frighten us all into supporting an invasion of Iraq. Here's what it sounds like Tenet is telling us now:

[Scene - the Oval Office]

Tenet: Mr. President, my assistants here have prepared a few plans on how best to prepare the American people for your planned invasion in Iraq.

Assistant1: [coughs] As usual, Mr. President, we have Rupert and the others ready to put up the flag all over the place.

Assistant2: We've been working on Kofi for weeks, but it's not easy to get our wording in a UN resolution. We'll keep trying.

Bush: [frowns]

Tenet: Listen, we've got other things in mind too. Like keeping Judy Miller fed with information. Is there anything you've got anywhere you can leak? [glances at Cheney]

Cheney: [snarls]

Assistant1: We thought about using Hill and Knowlton to promote another phony story... you remember in your Dad's time, about the Iraqis taking babies out of incubators? Still working on something along that line, sir.

Rice: I think the "smoking gun mushroom cloud" thing we worked up would be a great talking point.

Bush: [scratches head, then winks slyly at Condi] Well listen up, what I wanna know is, are you fudgesticks gonna be able to come up with enough hoopla so the people get behind this here takeover in Iraq? I mean, y'all have had years to think up some good ways to smoke a screen, err, blow smoke... err, fobskugater things, right?

Tenet: We can do it, Mr. President. I know our presentation today wasn't up to snuff, but just give us a little more time.

Bush: You sure you can make this lie fly, cia-guy?

Tenet: It's a slam-dunk, Mr. President.

I don't think George Tenet has helped himself much. Instead of being guilty of promoting what turned out to be faulty intelligence, he's just confessed to being guilty of participating in the rollout of the propaganda used to sell the war.