In a new memoir, former CIA Director George Tenet accepts some responsibility for his intelligence assessment of Iraq in the buildup to war, but he also blames the Bush administration for its ill-founded determination to invade.
He takes particular issue with Vice President Dick Cheney for citing Tenet’s “slam dunk” statement as justification for war: “I remember watching and thinking: ‘As if you needed me to say “slam dunk” to convince you to go to war with Iraq.’ ”
In a new book, Mr. Tenet accuses the U.S. administration of failing to properly debate the evidence for going to war.
And he said one of his own comments was distorted by the U.S. vice-president.
In the months preceding the invasion, Mr. Tenet told a high-level meeting that conclusive evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction would be a “slam dunk” in publicly promoting the case for war.
Mr. Tenet insists that his remark was theoretical and was not intended to persuade President Bush that Iraq actually had WMD.
Mr. Cheney has since told a TV interviewer that the “slam dunk” remark helped convince Mr. Bush to give the go-ahead for war—an argument Mr. Tenet laughs off in his memoir.
Mr. Tenet, who resigned in 2004, is the first member of President Bush’s inner circle to pen a memoir recalling 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.