I’d like to buy, and read, and quote from George Tenet’s new book. Interesting, scary stuff in there, like this:

…al-Qaida or groups affiliated with it have undertaken several other operations aimed at equaling or even surpassing the carnage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The operations, which either were thwarted by authorities or were canceled for one reason or another, included efforts to assassinate Vice President Al Gore with anti-tank missiles during a trip to Saudi Arabia, release cyanide in the New York subway system and procure weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, from Pakistani nuclear scientists.

As scary as this is, it’s bracing stuff about the nature of the conflicts we face. It’s also reassuring about the competence shown by our intelligence, law enforcement, and politicians in stopping these plots.

But.

When the Weekly Standard catches him telling a whopper like this, I can’t rely on it. And that comes on the heels of VDH’s big catch–Tenet changing his story about his beliefs about the “slam dunk”. Tenet’s whole project here is either frustratingly inaccurate, or an exercise is score-settling.

Even though I’m sure much of what he says is true, it’s too hard to pick out which is which.

Update (BP): Rich Lowry has Tenet’s book and is more or less liveblogging reading it. He has already come up with several interesting points to chew on. They’re here, here, here, here and here.

DOUBLE WHOPPER UPDATE (see-dubya): There’s a lot of picking on Tenet’s book going on, and since this post mysteriously flew over to the Hot! Picks! column, we might as well tally a few of them in this post. But first, did you guys catch the CBS interview? I didn’t, but I did see Ian’s excerpt. And I want to ask here what I asked in the comments there. It’s not Steve Pelley, the interviewer, but a CBS voiceover that interrupts the interview to note:

The Vice President up the ante, claiming Saddam had nuclear weapons when the CIA was saying he didn’t.

I’ve never heard anywhere that Cheney–or anyone in the administration–said that Saddam had nuclear weapons. If that’s new stuff in Tenet’s book, they need to identify that that is what Tenet claims. But it is dangerously far from established fact. I believe it to be utterly false. CBS seriously needs to clarify that–either to explain that this is a new claim introduced by Tenet, or to apologize for putting words in his mouth.

Either way, that’s damn sloppy.

UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens, rather than being his usual sunny, mellow self, gets a bit cantankerous toward old George. Someone needs a hug!

Tags: New York