The CIA Report, Tenet’s Medal and the Celebration of Failure

Yesterday, the CIA released part of its own internal review of the performance of the CIA leading up to the 9-11 attacks. The report concluded with an impressive degree of understatement that “the agency and its officers did not discharge their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner … and did not always work effectively and cooperatively.”

What is most maddening about this report is not only the failure to release it earlier (despite the obvious lack of national security dangers in release of a redacted report) but the fact that Tenet has yet to return the obscene Medal of Freedom given to him by President Bush. Congress should pass a resolution demanding that the medal be returned or stating the view of the house that Tenet’s performance did not warrant such an honor. More importantly, it is incumbent upon Republicans and conservatives to take the lead in such an effort. Tenet did not cause 9-11 but he failed in taking necessary steps to try to avoid it. When combined with this dismal performance leading to the Iraq war, the medal remains a shining example of America’s continued celebration of failure over the war on terror.