August 23, 2007
Well what do you know? It was the Bill Clinton administration and his choice to head the CIA, George Tenet, who failed to marshal sufficient resources to capture al-Qaeda operatives in the 1990s. According to a blistering report by the CIA’s inspector general, the agency failed to follow-up on promises of an all-out war against terrorists because of bureaucratic red tape and lack of resources.
The blame for this is laid squarely at the feet of George Tenet. Tenet says the report got it wrong.
The report said Tenet bears “ultimate responsibility” for the CIA’s lack of a unified, strategic plan for fighting al-Qaeda. The intelligence community “did not have a documented, comprehensive approach” to al-Qaeda, the document said, and tenet “did not use all of his authorities” to prepare one.
This about a man who was awarded the presidential medal of freedom. In his defense, Tenet says he repeatedly tried to sound an alarm with congress and the white house, but got no response. Again, this was when Clinton was in the White House, but republicans controlled congress. So the blame is shared. We must never become complacent again.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.