The CIA’s Al Qaeda failures

A formerly classified report released today states that CIA Director George Tenet was largely to blame for the Agency’s faliures in stopping Al Qaeda, the AP reports. And we still have miles to go to fix his legacy at CIA. Here are some highlights:

The CIA’s top leaders failed to use their available powers, never developed a comprehensive plan to stop al-Qaida and missed crucial opportunities to thwart two hijackers in the run-up to Sept. 11, the agency’s own watchdog concluded in a bruising report released Tuesday.
Providing a glimpse of a series of shortfalls laid out in the longer, still-classified report, the executive summary says:
– U.S. spy agencies, which were overseen by Tenet, lacked a comprehensive strategic plan to counter Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. The inspector general concluded that Tenet “by virtue of his position, bears ultimate responsibility for the fact that no such strategic plan was ever created.”
– The CIA’s analysis of al-Qaida before Sept. 2001 was lacking. No comprehensive report focusing on bin Laden was written after 1993, and no comprehensive report laying out the threats of 2001 was assembled. “A number of important issues were covered insufficiently or not at all,” the report found.
– The CIA and the National Security Agency tussled over their responsibilities in dealing with al-Qaida well into 2001. Only Tenet’s personal involvement could have led to a timely resolution, the report concluded.
– The CIA station charged with monitoring bin Laden — code-named Alec Station — was overworked, lacked operational experience, expertise and training. The report recommended forming accountability boards for the CIA Counterterror Center chiefs from 1998 to 2001, including Black.
– Although 50 to 60 people read at least one CIA cable about two of the hijackers, the information wasn’t shared with the proper offices and agencies. “That so many individuals failed to act in this case reflects a systemic breakdown…. Basically, there was no coherent, functioning watch-listing program,” the report said. The report again called for further review of Black and his predecessor.
While blame is heaped on Tenet and his deputies, the report also says that Tenet was forcefully engaged in counterterrorism efforts and personally sounded the alarm before Congress, the military and policymakers. In a now well-known 1998 memo, he declared, “We are at war.”

1 thought on “The CIA’s Al Qaeda failures”

  1. Sorry to use this opportunity for an unrelated topic. Please tune in to Radio Mambi, 6.10 on the AM dial here in Miami. Live, tonight at 6:00 PM. Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello,nominated for The Nobel Peace Prize and leader of La Asamblea Para Promover La Sociedad Civil en Cuba,will be the guest on Mesa Redonda with Armando Perez-Roura.
    You can also listen via internet. Go to Univision radio and find the link to listen live to Mambi.

Comments are closed.