George Tenet, whose seven-year run as head of the Central Intelligence Agency has come to a stormy end, leaves behind a crisis of confidence in American intelligence as the United States struggles with Muslim insurgents and the threat of catastrophic attacks.

A farewell tribute by his staff last Friday, a day ahead of his formal resignation, co-incided with the unveiling of a Senate Intelligence Committee report which is critical of CIA failures, from the September 11 attacks to its pre-invasion estimates of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that so far have failed to pan out.

Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee for their part warned last month that the agency for too long has been ignoring "its core mission activities," notably clandestine operations to recruit spies and penetrate organisations like al-Qaeda. The CIA, it said, "continues down a road leading over a proverbial cliff".

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=22&art_id=vn20040712142304630C424029


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