Tenet critics: "He could have changed the course of American history. Instead he kept silent"

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WASHINGTON -- In the period leading up to the Iraq war, the head of the CIA didn't speak out loudly enough about U.S. intelligence that said Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, said a former CIA officer Monday.

Ex-CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson responded to comments by former CIA Director George Tenet which aired on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday. Tenet said the consensus in the U.S. intelligence community was that Iraq did possess WMD, which the Bush administration said was its reason for invading in March of 2003.

Johnson told CNN on Monday that although Tenet knew intelligence indicating that Iraq had WMD "was a problem," he still played a role in the Bush administration's message to the American people that Iraq was a threat...

Johnson said Tenet "was willing to tell the president, 'Yeah I'll go out and help manipulate public opinion to build the case for war.' That's not the role of an intelligence chief. The role of the intelligence chief of the United States government is to tell the facts to the president and to the Congress regardless of what the political import of those are."...

On Saturday, Johnson and five other ex-CIA officers released an open letter to Tenet calling their former boss "the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community," and describing his book as an "admission of failed leadership." (Read more about the letter and its accusation that Tenet was a "failed leader")

The letter calls on Tenet to return the Presidential Medal of Freedom he received from President Bush and to donate royalties from his book to U.S. military casualties of the war and their families.

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