Thursday, June 03, 2004

Ten little, nine little, eight little indians . . . .

And the first one falls . . . .

George Tenet, the administration's sorta reverse Cassandra, resigned today. Just like that. For personal reasons. Bush says he'll miss Tenet. Cue audience "Awwwww."

Josh Marshall sums it up nicely at his blog:

Word has been out for some time that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on intelligence failures is terrible for Tenet. So that could be a cause of his resignation.

For my part, Tenet strikes me as a sort of tragic figure. Under his tenure the CIA got many things wrong about Iraq -- though largely by making estimates in the direction his critics, who now want him sacked, embraced. (A person who's intimately knowledgeable about this intel stuff recently told me that their sense was that the CIA would have gotten a lot of the basic intel stuff wrong without any help from Chalabi.) Then, on top of these errors, the White House added further gross exaggerations, which in many instances Tenet tried to knock down.

Now he's the fall-guy for all it, in all likelihood made to take the fall by the true bad-actors.

Having said all that, beside the possibility that the White House's favored Iraqi exile was an Iranian agent, that the spy chief just got canned, that the OSD is wired to polygraphs, and that the president has had to retain outside counsel in the investigation into which members of his staff burned one of the country's own spies, I'd say the place is being run like a pretty well-oiled machine.


I think Tenet will be the first domino. Not sure who will come next. I'd hope eventually we'd get to Bush, but I don't think it's likely. Things will break around him - and the last one standing wins . . . .

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