June 4, 2004 [LINK]

CIA chief Tenet resigns

The announced resignation of CIA chief George Tenet is probably a good thing, even though he was regarded as a fairly effective and dynamic manager. Is he just the "fall guy" for the Bushies? Among all the officials who testified to the 9/11 Commission, Tenet would seem to have the most to answer for. I remember vividly the terror warnings in the mid-summer of 2001. Tenet testified that he did not meet with Bush even once during the month of August, which seems absolutely incomprehensible in such a context. Of course, if Bush in fact brushed him off, that would be another matter, but there is no indication of that thus far. Tenet offered to resign a year ago, but Bush urged him to stay on. His public testimony struck me as less than forthright, but until the full truth is known, (which may not happen for years), it will be hard to make any definitive judgments.

Speaking of the 9/11 Commission, there has been some grumbling among Democrats about the role of its Executive Director, Philip Zelikow, because he worked in the first Bush administration and has ties to some current administration figures such as Condoleeza Rice. I happen to know Prof. Zelikow, who became Director of the White Burkett Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, where I worked as a graduate student during the 1990s. He has a stellar reputation in academic and policy-making circles, though his selection to replace Prof. Kenneth Thompson (my dissertation adviser) occasioned some hard feelings in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs (now called the Department of Politics), since he had not attained tenure at his previous post (Harvard) and was therefore considered by some faculty members to be ineligible for the rank of full professor at U.Va. In any event, Zelikow's academic credentials, dedication, earnestness, and personal character are beyond reproach.

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.