Thursday, April 15, 2004

yaledailynews.com - Presidential advisors still stuck in Cold War: "On Sept. 11, the president was initially clueless, yet his Director of Central Intelligence understood the situation. The stark contrast in reaction to the attacks begs a troubling question. Is the president so totally detached that he failed to grasp the significance of the unfolding events that morning, or is he so poorly advised that he did not comprehend the first collision's implications despite his top intelligence officer's full awareness?"

Mr. Menitove seems to be intelligent, and his piece is well-written, but he's missing a few important realities. For one thing, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, everyone thought it was just a pilot error. Tenet is the exception, not the rule. Which brings me to my second point(s): we have specialization in government for a reason, and Tenet rose to the top of the CIA for a reason. He is good at what he does (though I think a little past his prime), and his job is to keep everything about intelligence on the top of his mind. The President, on the other hand, has to have a handle on everything at once. This is why we have a Director of the CIA - so that when the President doesn't have the full information, and makes a conclusion ("One bad pilot"), he can step up and say, "excuse me sir, but here's another piece of information you should consider." ("we've got this character who was in flight school and has Al Quaeda connections. This might have been terrorism.")

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