Jeff Schneider: The CIA's Failures
Regarding the speech of CIA Director, George Tenet, at George Washington University (NY Times, 2/6/04), it immediately struck me how similar his statements were to the testimony of the Arthur Andersen Business Advisor, C.E. Andrews, before the US Senate Committee on Commerce on 12/28/01. Here is Mr. Andrews:
"We are still looking into the facts. But given what we know now this (failure of Andersen Accounting to detect fraud in Enron's operations) appears to have been the result of a reasonable effort made in good faith. I do believe we did a professional job overall and that this error did not cause Enron's collapse."
Here is Mr. Tenet:
"I have a responsibility to evaluate our performance, both our operational work and our analytical tradecraft. So what do I think about all this today? Based on an assessment of the data we collected over the past 10 years, it would have been difficult for analysts to come to any different conclusions than the ones reached in October of 2002."
The Andersen systems failed to detect fraud in the Enron collapse and the CIA failed to determine that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.
Meteorologists who won't or can't look out the window to check if it is raining are failures as weathermen. All the hedging and rationalization that intelligence is never "completely right or completely wrong" cannot cover up the abject failures of Arthur Andersen and the CIA.
Mr. Schneider teaches American history at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, NY.
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