CIA Report Blames Tenet for 9/ll Failure

Aug 21, 2007 2:22pm

Former CIA director George Tenet "bears ultimate responsibility" for failing to create a strategic plan to stop al Qaeda prior to 9/ll, according to a review by the CIA’s inspector general that was made public today, more than two years after it was written. The report says that while Tenet wrote he wanted "no resources or people spared" in going after al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, neither he, nor his deputy, "followed up these warnings and admonitions by creating a documented, comprehensive plan to guide the counterterrorism effort." "I know now why Tenet worked so hard to kill this report," said former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant. World News Video: CIA Failures Leading Up to 9/11 Exposed In a written statement, Tenet, who received the Medal of Freedom from President Bush, said the report was "flat wrong." Tenet said the inspector general failed to interview him. "He fails to understand how intensely I pushed the counterterrorism issue," Tenet said. The current CIA director, Gen. Mike Hayden, said the report was being made public "against his wishes" but as required by law. Hayden said he, like his predecessor Porter Goss, had no plans to punish CIA officials cited in the report. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. In recounting intelligence failures prior to 9/ll, the inspector general said there was neither "a single point of failure nor a silver bullet" that would have enabled the CIA to predict or prevent the 9/ll attacks. But the report concludes there were "failures to implement and manage important processes, to follow through with operations, and to properly share and analyze critical data." The report says Tenet "did not use all his authorities in leading the IC’s (intelligence community’s) strategic effort" against bin Laden. "That’s not fair," said ABC News consultant Clarke. "Of course there was a strategic effort, and he did raise the issue at the highest levels of government." Vote: Do you think Tenet is to blame for failing to stop al Qaeda before 9/11? And the report provides new details of the CIA’s failure to alert the FBI that two al Qaeda operatives, who would be among the 9/ll hijackers, had entered the United States. According to the report, "some 50 to 60" inside the CIA read "one or more of six Agency cables" that reported the two men had flown through Bangkok to Los Angeles. The cables "were read by overseas officers and Headquarters personnel, operations officers and analysts, managers and junior employees," the report says, but over the course of 18 months, no one from the CIA shared the information with the FBI or sought to put the names on the State Department’s terror watch list. "That so many individuals failed to act in this case reflects a systemic breakdown," the report concludes. "Basically, there was no coherent, functioning watch listing program," it says. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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