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New York Daily News
April 30, 2007
Ex-CIA Honcho Sorry For Not Stopping 9/11
By Dave Goldiner, Daily News Staff Writer
Ex-CIA boss George Tenet apologized yesterday for failing to prevent the Sept. 11 terror attacks and dodged responsibility for his infamous "slam dunk" remark about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.
"I still lie awake at night thinking about everything that could have been, that wasn't done to stop 9/11," Tenet told CBS' "60 Minutes."
"To the 9/11 families, I said, 'You deserve better from your entire government. All of us.'"
Tenet, 54, conceded that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers were on the CIA's radar screen, but the spy agency failed to hand over the information to law enforcement.
"They missed it," he said. "Human beings made mistakes."
In his new book, "At the Center of the Storm," Tenet pushes back against efforts to make him the scapegoat for pre-Sept. 11 intelligence failures and the bogus mass destruction charges. He accused Secretary of State Rice of brushing aside his warnings that Al Qaeda was preparing for catastrophic attacks in 2001.
After the attacks, Tenet admitted meting out harsh punishment to suspected terrorists, but insisted that the so-called "enhanced interrogation" measures were needed to head off more bloody attacks.
"We don't torture," he repeatedly told CBS' Scott Pelley. Tenet also blasted Bush administration officials for rushing the nation into war with Iraq under false pretenses. He admitted that intelligence reports backed up Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction but claimed his "slam dunk" comment didn't refer to the evidence.
"I will never believe until the day I die that that comment had anything to do with the timing or the legitimacy of going to war," Tenet told Time magazine.