COMMENTS: Spreading Storm

George Tenet launched his book tour for At the Center of the Storm on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday night. Next stop for the former CIA Director was NBC and ABC. Tenet's q-&-a with ABC anchor Charles Gibson (subscription required) focused almost entirely on the errors the CIA made when it investigated Iraq's non-existent arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Specifically, Gibson followed up on the report last month by his colleague Brian Ross that a key informant about Saddam Hussein's supposed biological weapons, named Curveball, was a known fabricator. "Had the CIA ever interviewed him?" "Not directly but indirectly." "What does indirectly mean?" "Pass questions. Get answers. Corroborate the data. Go run it down." "I may be naive but it does strike me as passing strange that the Secretary of State would make a speech based on intelligence which comes from someone that the CIA has not directly spoken to." Tenet claimed the CIA had "validated" Curveball's information. "We were wrong."

On NBC, Tenet sat down with former anchor Tom Brokaw. Brokaw's profile took the scattershot approach. He asked about Iraq--and other issues. Tenet's relationship with President George Bush: "My whole professional life has been about serving not pleasing." Bureaucratic infighting: "I did not call Don Rumsfeld." Domestic al-Qaeda sleeper cells: "This is an easy country to get into." The vulnerability of the New York City subways: "These are people who are resilient, waiting, patient."


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