Accounts of the Bush administration always speak of the “close bond” shared by George Bush and George Tenet.
With Tenet’s appearances surrounding his new book, we can finally see why: he and Bush both possess a love of taking personal responsibility, particularly when it involves giving clear, concise answers to tough questions:
TIME: How come the CIA trusted the source, codenamed Curveball, who turned out to be a fabricator? How does that happen? Did you know even who he was?
TENET: Well, I didn’t know his name, no. I mean, I know a lot about Curveball. So, you know, we’re working throughout this period. We’re trying to get direct access to him, and we can’t have direct access to him? But so you’ve got this, you know, indirect access, analysts doing the validation, lots of what he was saying made sense? The implication, of course, as you look at this, is this an organization in some sort of meltdown or something? Well, no, because the whole ethos of the place is report what you’ve got. If it’s not good news, when someone says fabricate in our business, you push it up, you stop the train. At the end of the day, we could have saved a lot of pain in the estimate. We could have saved the Secretary of State a whole lot of pain.
To be sure he had answered the question precisely, Tenet then added: “Fufffffffffffffffffffeeeefffffffffff.”