George Tenet's "Slam Dunk" Explanation More Damning Than Woodward's Narrative

On 60 Minutes George Tenet asserted disgust at Dick Cheney's repeated use of his "slam dunk" utterance as the justification to go to war in Iraq. Someone (Card, Cheney, Bush, Rice or Powell) told Bob Woodward (for his book, Plan of Attack) that Tenet had a Tom Cruise moment: leaping from the couch, throwing his hands up in the air, and declaring that the presence of WMD in Iraq was a "slam dunk."

Tenet explains that he never Tom Cruise'd the couch, did use the words "slam dunk", but only to assure President Bush that it was easy to make a stronger case for the war than had been presented.

Taking the Woodward account at face value, Tenet's sin was that he was wrong, dead wrong. But, perhaps, honestly wrong. Tenet's assertion that trust, honor and integrity are all that matter would be preserved by the Woodward account. (see below why even that is untrue).

By Tenet's own account, however, Bush judged the case that had been made to be weak, and Tenet unleapingly assured him that it was easy (a "slam dunk") to make stronger. This is complicity -- i.e., the opposite of trust, honor and integrity -- helping Bush build a case for war, or, as the Downing Street Memo told us years ago, fixing the evidence around the case for war. That, Mr. Tenet, is despicable. You are a co-conspirator.

As the interview proceeded, we heard Tenet claiming the non-nuclear WMD claims of 100-500 tons of chemical and biological weapons to be a "judgment made with high confidence," and we then saw him sitting behind Colin Powell at the UN when Powell declared that these were "hard facts."

Tenet would have done himself better to have shut up. But, then, people like Tenet who actually have no integrity are often mistaken as to what integrity is.