Should George Tenet give up his Medal of Freedom?

A group of former CIA officers says yes. I can't believe he accepted it to begin with.

Topics:

Newsweek reports that a group of former CIA officials led by Larry Johnson is demanding that former CIA Director George Tenet return his Medal of Freedom and donate half the profits from his book “At the Center of the Storm” to charities for wounded Iraq vets. It’s not exactly friendly advice: The group is calling Tenet “the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community” for his belated admissions that he knew the administration’s case for war with Iraq was shoddy but chose not to tell the American people.

Glenn Greenwald noted today that neocons are beginning to smear Tenet, now that he’s naming names, but I don’t think the former CIA director deserves any sympathy. (Juan Cole makes that clear.) Tenet’s “revelations” come five years after he failed to fight the neocon hawks, four years after the war began and almost three years after he resigned his position. Had he gone public sooner, as did former Clinton administration counterterror czar Richard Clarke, Bush might never have been reelected in 2004. Now that the president’s approval rating is in the 20s and the vast majority of Americans think the war is a mistake, George Tenet finds his voice?



Particularly galling, to me, is that Tenet accepted the Medal of Freedom nine months after Clarke’s book was published (and smeared by the administration and its neoconservative friends) in March 2004. The photo of Bush hanging the medal around his neck (it’s on that Newsweek story) should haunt Tenet all his life. It looks a little like a noose right now. I know the former CIA officers (all Bush critics) who wrote to Tenet today aren’t trying to help out their old boss, but I still think they’re giving him good advice: He should quietly mail the medal back to the White House, and donate his book proceeds to charity. It would be the beginning of trying to make up for his awful mistakes, not profit from them. Whatever happened to people who do shameful things slinking off in … shame?

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>