Tenet's Tell-All Is a Slam Dunk to Provoke Invasion's Architects

By Al Kamen
Monday, April 16, 2007

The drums have begun sounding for the long-awaited book by former CIA director George Tenet, in which he gives his take on pre-9/11 days and on Saddam's huge cache of weapons of mass destruction.

And the drums are saying that Tenet is not going to get too many Christmas cards from Vice President Cheney's office after they read "At the Center of the Storm." Folks from down the river at the Pentagon, including former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz-- a guy who's already going through a rough patch -- and former defense undersecretary Douglas Feith, might also get some heartburn.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell comes out fine. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was President Bush's key adviser in engineering the Iraq invasion, doesn't come out so fine. Not fine at all.

The White House definitely won't be overjoyed, we're hearing. Tenet even takes some shots at himself and for the first time explains his astute assurance that "it's a slam-dunk case" when Bush asked him how solid the WMD evidence was.

Tenet has never really explained his views on that comment. The 500-page book -- or more likely his "60 Minutes" interview on April 29, the day before the book goes on sale -- will be the first time he goes over that.

Tenet, who ran the CIA from July 1997 to July 2004, did the first of two days of taping last week at Georgetown University, where he's teaching.

Gore Watch

Meanwhile, everyone who's watching Al Gore's waistline for clues as to whether he's running in '08 might want to pick up his book, "The Assault on Reason." Although it is tough on the Bush administration, it is a polemic about how the enemies of reason -- using fear and secrecy and blind faith and cronyism -- are doing a number on democracy in this country.

The book also talks about his own campaign and of the new, less reasonable rules of the political game. At times the book, due out May 21, has the feel of a "goodbye to all that" reminiscence, we're told. Well, keep an eye on the waistline just in case.

One Job at a Time for Rice

Meanwhile, Rice, still working the conservative-talk-show circuit, last week addressed the rumors that she would leave her job as secretary before the end of the Bush era to run for office and to make way for her deputy, John Negroponte, to take over the department.

Rice told host Michael Medved that "I understand American politics very badly. I've always said I'm much better at understanding international politics than American politics. I just know that I've got a job to do for the rest of this president's term. That's what I'm concentrating on. . . . I haven't thought much about it myself. I'm thinking more about these days how to get other people to hold elections that are free and fair around the world."

Pulling Strings for a Prosecutor-to-Be

Not that the Justice Department was pushing hard to get former Republican opposition researcher and Karl Rove aide Tim Griffin confirmed as U.S. attorney in Arkansas.

In the latest White House e-mail dump last week, we find Loop favorite Monica Goodling, former top aide to Attorney General (for now) Alberto R. Gonzales, sent this memo to her Justice Department colleagues the day before Gonzales was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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