George Tenet’s Defense

Tenet_3We’re now six years past 9/11, and four years past the mission being complete in Iraq (wink, wink). But the parade of books by ex-government decision-makers continues. First we had Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies and The Price of Loyalty written almost indirectly by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. Now we get a new one, At the Center of the Storm, by George Tenet, the former Director of the CIA.Though there is now a palpable sense of fatigue in America (even the political right has had it with our Iraq adventure), we apparently still have enough energy to make a bestseller out of another political tell-all book. Yes, we still want to read another recitation of well-known facts — that Tenet warned Condi in 2001 about an imminent al-Qaeda threat but our National Security Advisor did little with that information, or that the Bush circle mentally signed off on invading Iraq as soon as 9/12. Yes, we apparently also want to hear Tenet exlain for the fourth or fifth time exactly what he meant in saying Iraq’s WMDs were “a slam dunk case.” (In an otherwise completely uninteresting book review, Bob Woodward has a couple worthwhile comments on this bit.) And we strangely care enough to read through another mea culpa that isn’t really a mea culpa afterall. (George Packer makes good points on this score in The New Yorker.)If you want to commit time to reading this book, God bless you and feel free to buy it here. But if you would rather cut to the chase, you can listen to Tenet’s recent interview on Fresh Air (iTunes), or alternatively watch his recent 60 Minutes piece below. (The television interview is divided into four chunks. Here are the links to Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)

PS One of our readers recommends Terror Timeline, a book by Paul Thomspon that gives you a year by year, day by day, minute by minute chronicle of the road to 9/11.

The video is no longer available on youtube, but it can be viewed here at the CBS website.

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