Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 416, May 6, 2007

"But why assume that. . .?"


Nice Try, George Tenet
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

A few years ago, James Frey wrote a memoir called A Million Little Pieces, which created a controversy when it was revealed most of the things he was remembering were completely made up.

As far as I'm concerned, former CIA Director George Tenet's new memoir, At the Center of the Storm, should be received with the same sort of disdain. Not because his book is necessarily fiction, but because, even if it isn't, it's still a bunch of B.S.

Tenet is going around these days telling anyone who will listen the Bush administration took it out of context when he said the pre-war case against Iraq was a "slam dunk." Tenet wants us to believe the administration made him a scapegoat—that he knew all along the Iraq War was pushed upon us by a small group of people who desired invasion long before 9/11. I don't doubt this is true. Nor do I doubt Tenet knew it all along. But what are we supposed to do with this information (other than buy this guy's book)?

The war started in 2003. By my count, it's now 2007. Thanks for the inside perspective, George. Next time, tell us something we don't know. Like the fact that you wear a bra. Or that Qusay Hussein took Dick Cheney to his prom.

It's amazing how Tenet could write this sort of book and then go around with a straight face acting like he did nothing wrong. This guy was the Director of Central Intelligence. Theoretically speaking, it was his job to make sure this war happened if it deserved to happen—and to prevent it if it didn't. Now he's saying the war was an error, but it wasn't his fault that he sat back while the intelligence was manipulated. What good were you, Mr. Director, if you let the White House take us in exactly the wrong direction? Don't tell me you were just doing your job. To paraphrase the 1994 cult classic, Clerks: You know who else was just doing their job? Nazis.

Tenet can look back on the build up to war all he wants. He can tell us he thought this or that, or should've said this or that, or whatever. The bottom line is this: The country went to war anyway. People died. Billions were spent. Goodwill was squandered. And Bin Laden wasn't caught. Somehow, George Tenet couldn't speak up at some point during any of this. I realize he wants his memoir to make it look like he was competent, but he knew this war was wrong, he allowed it to happen, and then he accepted the so-called Medal of Freedom for it. That doesn't make him look incompetent—it just makes him look corrupt or lazy. Take your pick.

George Tenet's book shouldn't be called At the Center of the Storm. It should be called At the Center of Some Two-Faced Bureaucrat's Butt Hole. Because as far as I'm concerned, that's where its insights are coming from.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at


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