Rice Rebuts Tenet's Assertion That '01 Warning Was Ignored

Rice Rebuts Tenet's Assertion That '01 Warning Was Ignored
April 30th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Rice Rebuts Tenet's Assertion That '01 Warning Was Ignored

Rice Rebuts Tenet's Assertion That '01 Warning Was Ignored
New York Times
April 30, 2007
Pg. 6
By Brian Knowlton
WASHINGTON, April 29 — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended herself on Sunday against the assertion by the former C.I.A. director, George J. Tenet, that she had dismissed his warnings in July 2001 of possible terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda.
In his new book, “At the Center of the Storm,” to be published on Monday, Mr. Tenet wrote that there had been no “serious debate” within the Bush administration about whether Iraq posed an imminent threat or on how a long American military presence in Iraq might play out; and that his early efforts to warn Ms. Rice and others of Al Qaeda’s threats were treated too lightly.
Ms. Rice, who appeared on several Sunday television talk shows, said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” that the administration had tried many ways to deal with Iraq, over “an extended period of time,” including efforts to tighten international sanctions.
In an excerpt from a taped CBS interview, broadcast on the program “60 Minutes” Sunday, Mr. Tenet said that in a briefing he had urgently requested with Ms. Rice in July 2001, he said words to this effect: “There are going to be multiple, spectacular attacks against the United States. We believe these attacks are imminent. Mass casualties are likely.”
“We need to consider immediate action inside Afghanistan now,” he said he had advised.
Ms. Rice said that did not seem to track with what Mr. Tenet had told the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission in testimony, and added, “I don’t know what we were supposed to pre-emptively strike in Afghanistan.”
When Mr. Bush took office in early 2001, the Sept. 11 commission’s report found, he and his advisers “accepted that Al Qaeda was responsible” for the October 2000 attack on the United States destroyer Cole, but “did not like the options available for a response.
“The Bush administration began developing a new strategy with the stated goal of eliminating the Al Qaeda threat within three to five years,” the commission’s report said.
Ms. Rice was also asked about Mr. Tenet’s much-quoted reference in the prelude to the Iraq war about the case for the war being a “slam dunk,” a basketball term used to indicate that there was little doubt.
Mr. Tenet has said he meant to convey that it would be easy to make the public argument for going into Iraq, not that the intelligence of an Iraqi threat was irrefutable.
“When George said ‘slam dunk,’ ” Ms. Rice said, “everybody understood that he believed that the intelligence was strong.
“We all believed the intelligence was strong.”
In an unusual reaction to Mr. Tenet’s book, the State Department sent reporters on Sunday a three-page document underscoring comments the former C.I.A. chief had made to the Sept. 11 commission.
It quoted him as saying of the emerging terrorist threat, in the spring and summer of 2001, “reporting was maddeningly short on actionable details.”
“The most ominous reporting hinting at ‘something big’ was also the most vague.”
It also quoted him as saying that upon taking office, “The new group,” meaning the Bush administration in early 2001, “also immediately understood what we were talking about here, and bin Laden and Al Qaeda became an agenda item early on with the national security adviser and the president.”

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