Thursday, June 03, 2004

U.S. C.I.A. Director Tennet resigns

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Tennet is resigning (article), ostensibly for personal reasons.

There has been speculation as to whether this had something to do with recent scandals involving the CIA.

Let's see --- there were the Iraqi WMD and 9/11 intelligence failures, CIA involvement in the Iraqi prisoner torture scandal, and, more recently, the CIA leak probe that Bush has acknowledged he might be called to testify in.

On the other, according to New Yorker author Seymour Hersh (related article), appearing on the U.S. news talk show Charlie Rose after the Pentagon unconvincingly denied his story (article), CIA agents were heavily involved in leaks of Pentagon intelligence abuses, such as the Iraqi prisoner scandal.

According to a number of sources, including the recent Bob Woodward book, Rumsfeld had been trying to wrest control of intelligence away from the civilian hands at CIA and into his Department of Defense (DoD). This was bound to create a turf war between CIA and DoD (and between Rumsfeld and Tennet). Leaks of DoD intelligence abuses (exclusive article), coming through CIA, and the subsequent calls for Rumsfeld's resignation from the media, may have been one aspect of that turf war. Instead of Rumsfeld resigning, Tennet resigned unexpectedly.

Then again, Tennet had been under considerably criticism following the Iraqi WMD and 9/11 intelligence failures, and has reportedly been considering resigning for over a year now.