Former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet Pens Memoir
Washington, DC – In his new book, At the Center of the Storm (HarperCollins 2007), Georgetown University Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy George Tenet (SFS '76) recounts his time at the Central Intelligence Agency in a revealing look at the inner workings of the intelligence organization during the most challenging times in recent history. With access to both the highest echelons of government and raw intelligence from the field, Tenet illuminates the CIA's attempts to prepare the country against new and deadly threats, disentangles the interlocking events that led to 9/11, and offers new information on the deliberations and strategies that culminated in the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
"This is the story of how we saw the threat, what we did about it, what was proposed and not done, how our thinking evolved, and why the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency were ready with a plan of action to respond forcefully to the loss of three thousand American and foreign lives," Tenet writes in the book's preface.
"This is also a story about how we helped disarm a rogue nation of its weapons of mass destruction without firing a shot and how we brought to justice the most dangerous nuclear weapons proliferator the world has ever known. It is a recounting of efforts to bridge historic differences between Israelis and Palestinians and give to diplomats a chance to seek a political solution to an age-old crisis. It also is a cautionary tale of threats still uncountered that would make the attacks of September 11 pale in comparison," he writes.
Beginning with his appointment as Director of Central Intelligence in 1997, Tenet unfolds the momentous events that led to 9/11 as he saw and experienced them: his declaration of war on al-Qa'ida; the CIA's covert operations inside Afghanistan; the worldwide operational plan to fight terrorists; his warnings of imminent attacks against American interests to White House officials in the summer of 2001; and the plan for a coordinated and devastating counterattack against al-Qa'ida laid down just six days after the attacks.
Tenet's narrative then turns to the war in Iraq as he provides insight and background on the run-up to the invasion, including a firsthand account of the fallout from the inclusion of "sixteen words" in the president's 2003 State of the Union address, which claimed that Saddam Hussein had sought to purchase uranium from Africa; the true context of Tenet's now-famous "slam dunk" comment regarding Saddam's WMD program; and the CIA's critical role in an administration predisposed to take the country to war.
In October 2004, Georgetown named Tenet Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Senior Research Associate in the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.
George John Tenet was sworn in as the 18th Director of Central Intelligence on July 11, 1997, following a unanimous vote by both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the full Senate. In this position, he led the United States Intelligence Community -- a team of 14 foreign intelligence organizations -- and presided over the daily activities of one of its members, the Central Intelligence Agency. Under two presidents, Director Tenet led efforts to rebuild and modernize the country’s capacity to acquire, analyze and disseminate information vital to the security of all Americans. Prior to his appointment, Tenet served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, having been confirmed in that post in July 1995. In December 1996, he was named Acting Director.
Tenet came to the Intelligence Community from the National Security Council, where he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs. In that office, he developed and coordinated policies on virtually every aspect of intelligence and espionage from collection priorities to covert action. Before joining the NSC, Tenet was a member of President Clinton's national security transition team, responsible for a comprehensive assessment of the Intelligence Community.
About the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Founded in 1919 to educate students and prepare them for leadership roles in international affairs, the School of Foreign Service remains committed to intercultural understanding and service in the global arena, ideals held by its founder and first dean, the Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. For more information about the School of Foreign Service, visit http://www.georgetown.edu/sfs.
About Georgetown University
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses in Washington, DC. For more information about Georgetown University, visit www.georgetown.edu.