Upsetting
Friday, June 04, 2004
 
The agency knew long before 9/11 that men who had attended an al-Qaida meeting in Malaysia were coming to the United States, but it didn't put their names on a terrorist watch list until August 2001. That month, Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested, and Tenet received an internal memo headlined, "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly," but he didn't brief Bush about it or mention the information at a Cabinet meeting a week before 9/11.

In January 2003, Tenet failed to read?and Bush failed to provide him with?the final draft of the State of the Union address, in which Bush embraced reports, found spurious by a CIA investigator a year earlier, that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger. In December 2002, according to Bob Woodward, Tenet told Bush that Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction was a "slam-dunk" certainty. And in February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the United Nations with "evidence" of Iraqi WMD, given to him by the CIA, that has since been discredited.

What does Tenet have to say about these failures?

"Our record is not without flaws," he said today in a masterpiece of understatement.
 
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