Rangel: Ex-CIA chief Tenet has no 'credibility,' merits probe
According to Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), despite former CIA director eorge Tenet's belated criticism of the Bush Administration's rush to invade Iraq, which included reliance on "faulty intelligence," Tenet doesn't have any "credibility" and should be investigated.
On CBS's Face The Nation Sunday morning, after a discussion of the impasse between the Democratic-controlled Congress and the president over the war funding bill, host Bob Schieffer asked the House Ways and Means Committee chairman if he could "switch to George Tenet, the former CIA director whose book came out this week."
"Sometime back, he got the Medal of Freedom," Schieffer continued. "I believe you were quoted somewhere along the way as saying that rather than the Medal of Freedom, he should be looked at by the Justice Department. What do you think about these allegations that he's making now that he was misunderstood when he said it was a slam dunk, that the administration had already made up its mind to go to war? Does he have credibility with you, Mr. Chairman?"
"No," Rangel responded, "I don't think he has credibility with anyone in the United States."
Rangel continued, "For him to have had the information that he had and to tell the president that it was a slam dunk. For the president to mislead the people in the United States in believing that there was weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack in 9/11, that he was part of al Qaeda. And for him to have done what he did to my friend, Colin Powell, to have him sitting in the United Nations proclaiming the connection between the two, knowing in his heart that the evidence did not go in that direction. And to accept a medal and then to put out a book -- God knows what he got in terms of an advance -- to me, this warrants an investigation."
"It is unfair to do something like that to the American people," Rangel added.
Over a week ago, as RAW STORY reported, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) invited Tenet to testify on May 10 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform.
"The purpose of the hearing is to learn your views about one of the claims used to justify the war in Iraq – the assertion that Iraq sought to import uranium from Niger – and related issues," Waxman wrote in a letter to Tenet.
In his book At the Center of the Storm, Tenet slams the White House for its deliberations over the intelligence used to build the case for the invasion of Iraq.
"There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," he writes.
Tenet also claims that Vice President Dick Cheney intended to lay the blame for the faulty evidence of Iraq's WMD threat on the ex-CIA head: "Rather than acknowledge responsibility, the administration's message was: Don't blame us. George Tenet got us into this mess."
Six former CIA officials, including Larry Johnson, recently wrote Tenet, "By your silence you helped build the case for war. You betrayed the CIA officers who collected the intelligence that made it clear that Saddam did not pose an imminent threat. You betrayed the analysts who tried to withstand the pressure applied by Cheney and Rumsfeld."