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June 10, 2015
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June 9, 2005
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Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800? EO 13526 1.4(c)<25YrsTOP 3ECRETI/CODEWORD C.LNSITIVEGeorge J. TenetResponse to Inspector General's 9/11 AccountabilityFinal Draft ReportJune 9, 2005ZApproved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800To: Inspector Gene IgersonFrom: George J.Subject: Final Draft ofMemorandumccountability ReportJune 9, 2005For the first time I have been permitted to read the full 10 draft report, and thestandard ofjudgment being applied. I am accused of not devoting professionalism, skilland diligence in countering terrorism as DCI. 1 object to and reject these accusations.In my previous submission to you, I presented detailed information to respondto that draft report's unsupportable conclusions. I incorporate my February 20, 2005submission in this response.After reading the final draft report, it is clear that the material 1 previouslysubmitted has had no impact on a draft report that continues to mischaracterize myactions and ignores the context in which I served as DCI from 1997 through 2001 to dealwith the threat posed by al-Qa'ida.Your final draft cannot stand as a legitimate assessment of my performanceagainst al-Qa'ida before September 11, 2001. You have failed to seek information fromthose officials outside CIA who were most intimately involved with me in dealing with /terrorism. Instead of gathering information from such officials to enlighten and providecontext to your report, you instead chose to speculate. In the most egregious example ofthis, your report states that policy makers were not able to realize the full advantage oftheir intelligence capabilities and that a more comprehensive approach could haveresulted in a more complete understanding and magnitude of the threat prompting a' consensus within the Government to move against Bin Ladin earlier and moreaggressively than it did.Yet, your- report fails to support such an assertion. It contains no informationfrom any of the senior policy makers I worked with (often on a daily basis during periodsof intense threat) in either the Clinton or Bush Administrations. There is not one shred ofevidence in your report that suggests that these officials did not understand the urgencyand magnitude of the threat, or that they failed to take action in response. In fact thesworn testimony of these officials before the 9/11 Commission and other bodies showsthat they certainly understood the threat. Yet your report provides no facts or evaluationof my interactions with two National Security Advisors, two Secretaries of Defense andtheir Deputies, two Secretaries of State and their Deputies, two Attorneys General, theinteragency lawyers who drafted covert action Findings, NSC senior director RichardClarke, and former FBI Director Freeh and his counterterrorism deputies. Your reportfails to provide information about my participation in NSC Deputies and PrincipalsApproved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800meetings in either Administration, or about my weekly meetings with NSC AdvisorBerger and NSC Advisor Rice and their deputies.To assert that policymakers would have formed a consensus to move against BinLadin earlier and more aggressively is irresponsible without supporting evidence. TheClinton Administration chose not to invade Afghanistan, and the Bush Administrationtook until September 2001 to expand covert action authorities shortly before theSeptember 11 attacks. Your report basically asserts that one or both of these keydecisions would have been made differently if the DCI and US intelligence had warnedor informed of the magnitude of the threat differently. There is not one statement fromany senior policy official in either Administration to support such an unfoundedassertion.I knciw directly how the Clinton Administration reacted after the East Africabombings, and during the Millennium threat period, and after the USS Cole was attacked.At one point I informed President Clinton directly to expect from five to fifteen attacksagainst United States' interests. I directly interacted with NSC Advisor Berger, SeniorDirector Clarke and Director Freeh during the Millennium threat period on a daily basis.Afterwards, Berger commissioned an after action review of the actions taken to respondto the threat. Neither he nor any other senior official involved in countering terrorismwere ignorant of either the threat or the challenge posed by al-Qa'ida. Proof of this isfound in the specific covert action Findings developed by CIA working with NSCofficials. The threat is carefully set forth in each of those documents, as is theincreasingly aggressive nature of our responses. These Findings were reviewed, debatedand approved by senior policy makers. I had constant interaction with them during NSCmeetings, and I assert without fear of contradiction that they fully understood themagnitude of the threat and were taking the policy actions they felt were available tothem at the time.The incoming Bush Administration was briefed on all counterterrorism covertaction Findings in January 2001.In addition, they were presented with specific policyand budgetary choices in a memorandum provided to the National Security Advisor byRichard Clarke on January 25, 2001. Clarke specifically articulated the threat posed byal-Qa' ida and he stated that the NSA and CIA made collection against the al-Qa'idanetwork a priority requirement with higher priority given only to support of ongoingmilitary operations, .On July 10, 2001, 1 personally led a team to brief the National Security Advisoron the threat posed by al-Qa'ida and I discussed with her and Richard Clarke strategies totake offensive action against Bin Ladin. Throughout the summer of 2001, we producedwritten assessments of the threat, and the DDCI attended a series of Deputies meetings atthe NSC in which options were discussed. But your report provides absolutely nounderstanding of any actions taken by me or others during either Administration to workdirectly with those in our Government who were dealing with terrorism. You neverexamined our interactions with Richard Clarke's CSG process in the White House, which' 2? TOP SECRET/ICODEWORD SENSIT-WC--Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800CT  drove counterterrorism actions throughout the Government. '-You did not learn fromeither Dr. Rice or from Richard Clarke tha' t !directly intervened in the summer of 2001 tourge that Clarke return as chair of the CSG to insure that the Government was taking allnecessary steps to respond to the threat as described by American intelligence;',.While your report makes no reference to Clarke's effective CSG efforts, it makesonly passing acknowledgment that,the most effective interagency effort against BinLadin was that of the ADO for Collection who, from the early months of 1998 toSeptember 11, worked with representatives of several intelligence agencies to stimulatecollection. I agree that Mr. Allen's efforts were important and represented a critical,coordinated activity of the Intelligence Community. But what astounds me is that yourreport fails to acknowledge that the ADC' for Collection acted at my direction as DCT. Iam informed that the ?IG learn never interviewed Mr. Allen and therefore certainly neverevaluated his interactions with me.The Intelligence Community at my direction through the ADO tbr Collectionmarshaled its resources to enhance its collection against al-Qa'ida before September 11.interacted with Mr. Allen constantly, urging him to drive the Community's collectors ashard as possible. He used my December 1998 memorandum as leverage in bringing thecollectors together and refining collection strategies across the Community. Mr. Allencommunicated with me directly about these efforts, and I have attached at Tab A numberof his update memorandums in response to my memorandum, to show the extent of theCommunity's active engagement. I provided Mr. Allen steady and direct feedback andpushed him to accelerate his efforts. Instead of acknowledging my efforts in this regard,your report discusses who attended what meetings, and whether my December 1998memorandum was properly disseminated. The facts are that Mr. Allen attended my UBLupdate meetings, and I was driving the collectors in the Intelligence Communityaggressively against the al-Qa'ida target through him.There is no analysis in. your report regarding the quality of our collection efforts,or the magnitude of the collection resources and people involved across the IntelligenceCommunity as a result of the direction I provided to Mr. Allen or even an assessment ofwhat was not done in terms of collection. You never discussed these efforts withCommunity program managers to assess my performance as DCI. Rather you opine that I,did not do enough to marshal the community's resources.Your report suggests that the leaders of the Community were not fully aware ofthe priority they should have given to counterterrorism, because, in some instances aprogram manager did not recall receiving My December 1998 memorandum. This isnonsense. Read the update memorandums Mr. Allen sent to me. You will understandthat the Community collectors were actively pursuing the terrorist target.Do you actually believe that the Director of NSA was not fully aware ofthe significance of that kind of action? And program Managers testified with me beforethe authorizing and appropriations committees each year during our annual budgetpresentations. They heard and supported the priorities we were budgeting against and3?Terrafette'llfeetrefitORD-SellIffrort?Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800C T// ODEWORD SEI RIVEunderstood hill well the importance I attached to countering terrorism. But your reportfails to describe what the program managers knew or the role the ADC! for Collectionwas playing on my behalf because you did not seek information from the Director ofNSA, the Director of NIMA, the Director of DIA or the Director and Acting Director ofthe FBI. Without gathering facts about my work with these officials or their agencies,your report accuses me of not performing my duties as DCI with skill, professionalismand diligence.Your report also continues to ignore how the National collection agencies workedwith the Chief, Deputy Chief and Chief of Operations of CTC to insure that the actions ofthe Intelligence Community actively supported the Plan CTC put in place in 1999.Instead, your report continues to dismiss the 1999 Plan as merely tactical and operational.It was not. It was our blueprint for attacking al-Qa'ida as vigorously as possible usingthe collection and operational elements of the Community. Certainly our actions toimplement the Plan were focused through CTC. That is because CTC served myCommunity interests as DCI. This fact was noted positively in the August 2001 10inspection report of CTC:"CTC fulfills interagency responsibilities for the Del by coordinatingnational intelligence, providing warning and promoting the effective use ofIntelligence Community resources on terrorism issues." [Emphasis supplied.)With regard to resources, you have chosen to largely ignore my previoussubmission which attempted to put in context the fiscal environment in which theCommunity was operating and which explained the decisions 1 made to rebuild the CIAand Community beginning in 1998. Despite the fact that we made specific decisions totriple NF1P funding in counterterrorism as a percentage of the Community's budget:during the decade of the 1990s when the NFIP declined by 10 percent in real terms, or thefact that CIA counterterrorism resources quadrupled in the same period, I continue lobeaccused of not marshaling sufficient resources for counterterrorism. Yet, your report failsto explain what the proper level of resources should have been. By what standard am Inow being judged? What additional resources were available from other programs toapply to counterterrorism?I must also correct your mischaracterization of my earlier submission. On line4128, the report states that "a meaningful strategy could not be developed to deal withany threats unless the CIA or the Community as a whole were rebuilt and given newdirection." I made no such statement or suggestion. Rebuilding capabilities of the CIA,including recruiting and training case officers, and developing new overhead collectionsystems takes years, and is still ongoing. I never implied in my previous response that Ihad to wait for the rebuilding to be complete before moving against key targets liketerrorism. We had no choice but to work against priority targets and, at the same time,rebuild the CIA, recapitalize overhead systems and fund NSA's transformation.4Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 0062208008E1'7011-I'VEIn making the decisions necessary to rebuild the Intelligence Community, I alsomade decisions not to subject the Community to numerous transfers and reprogrammingrequests that. would.have.disrupted ongoing programmatic-initiatives, involved protracted ?negotiations-With theDepartrrient of Defense and OMB, and the stafts of six _congressional committees. While we did reprogram some funds to deal with urgent gaps,I felt it was important to maintain sustained funding in our rebuilding effort.There is no meaningful discussion in your report of our budget submissions, ourover guidance packages, or our urgent supplemental requests to OMB. Nor is there anydiscussion of how I aggressively sought more money at every turn. In fact I went outsideof established channels to work with Speaker Gingrich when he offered to provide whatbecame the largest infusion of supplemental funding we received before the BushAdministration came into office. I was criticized directly at the highest levels within theAdministration for this action. Yet, in your report I am accused of not being diligent orskillful in marshaling sufficient resources for counterterrorism.With regard to warnings provided to senior policy makers and the Presidentbefore September 11, your report claims that "the volume of other reporting in the PDBwas such that the impact of these warnings could have been diluted." [Emphasissupplied.] What information did you gather from PDB recipients to support thisspeculation? There was no "dilution" of the warnings we gave to senior policy makers.In fact, in the summer of 2001 some PDB readers, who were obviously paying closeattention to our assessments, suggested that Bin Ladin might be engaged  in adisinformation campaign. We produced an assessment of this possibility Inaddition, I personally briefed the President in July 2001 during a PDB session, whenother senior policy makers were present. But, to stress the point again, you havepresented no information from any senior policy maker to permit you to make anyjudgments about our warnings or assessments. And, before making any assertions aboutmy skill, diligence or professionalism, your team the briefing materials Iused in the briefing to NSC Advisor Ricethe President nd other senior officials in July2001.In terms of actions taken by policy makers to respond to the threat, your report issimply in error in discussing the December 24, 1998 MON. Contrary to the "judgment"on page 265; the language of the MON did not "cross a threshold" to authorize killing.Bin Ladin through more "broadly defined offensive lethal operations" than hadpreviously been authorized. Your report cites instructions "sent by the DCI" to the fieldwherein I allegedly "gave prominence to the need for a capture operation as a vehicle fora lethal operation" and in which I allegedly "emphasize[d] the importance of conductinga capture operation in any lethal assault without communicating the MON's ambiguousformulations on what might be permissible.". The clear implication of your report is that,for reasons unknown, I authored instructions to misinform the field that Bin Ladin couldbe killed without the predicate eta capture operation.5 I/C0trE?Werttrn1ITITT117?Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800TOP SiCRET//CODCWORD 3ENSITIVEFirst, I did not author the instructions to the field, nor did I direct those who did,to "give prominence" or "emphasize" any provision of the MON. In fact, the instructionswere developed by the NSC in coordination with the Attorney General of the UnitedStates, and the Agency transmitted them to the field. The instructions made clear theGovernment's policy preference was to capture Bin Ladin and his principal lieutenantsand render them to the United States.Secondly, the Chief of CTC and I met with the Attorney General of the UnitedStates to discuss operations against Bin Ladin. It was absolutely clear to me that theAttorney General would only contemplate lethal action against Bin Ladin and hislieutenants in the context of capture and rendition operations. But, again, your reportreflects no information from the Attorney General or other principals directly involved inreviewing and approving MONs against Bin Ladin. Instead your report incorrectly"suggests" that the MON represented something new with respect to lethal authority.There was no new ground broken with this MON. The instructions to the field wereauthorized by the President and the NSC, and they dearly state, in pertinent parti:"? The US Government prefers that Bin Ladin and his principal lieutenants becaptured.-- If a successful 'capture operation is not feasible, the plfdtrodpints may undertakeoffensive operations to kill Bin Ladin with his principal lieutenants."Finally, I ai.11 struck by the apparent suggestion in an Inspector General's reportthat in "authoring"- instructions about the use of lethal force I should have encouragedthe field to take advantage of the "MON's ambiguous formulations on what might bepermissible." I knew full well what was permissible: lethal action against Bin Ladin inthe context of capture and rendition operations. I would never sanction the field takingadvantage of ambiguities to do what I knew was not authorized.In terms of setting priorities for national intelligence, your report accuses me ofnot using "my influence" within the White House to change or modify priorities. ThePresident of the United States establishes priorities for intelligence. But beyond this fact,there is an underlying assumption in your report: that without a Presidential DecisionDirective being issued, senior policy makers and the leaders of the IntelligenceCommunity were ignorant that countering terrorism was a key priority of the IntelligenceCommunity. As I have repeatedly tried to explain, the principals in our Government andthe leaders of the Community did not need a directive to tell them that we had to dealwith al-Qa'ida. Clinton Administration leaders lived through the East Africa embassybombings, the Millennium threat period and the attack against the USS Cole. RichardClarke was driving the Government's efforts against terrorism with the full support of thePresident and his National Security Advisor. I was driving the Community to collect asI I have attached the MON, together with the instructions authorized by the President.2 The report personalizes to me actions I did not take: "The DCI wrote..." DCI gave prominenceto' .... "He then inserted into the instructions...." This language is inaccurate, inappropriate and should bestricken from your draft report. .6TOP 8ECRETI/CODLWORD SENSITIVEApproved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800aggressively as possible so that we could be in a better position to warn, inform and takeaction where possible. I worked directly and closely with Director Fresh and hiscounterterrorism team. Principals met and approved covert action proposals, and fullyunderstood the threats that required them. So, through direct contact and action, theleaders of our Government and our Community were taking measures to deal with thethreat as best we could.' Priorities against terrorism were also reinforced through our annual budgetsubmissions. Terrorism was always a top priority before September 11. My testimonybefore Congress, supported by the testimony of Community program managers, attests tothis.In terms of realigning CIA priorities, your report is critical that my guidance wasissued in January 2002. I frankly do not understand the criticism. Before September 11,CIA priorities against terrorism were clear, and we were funding our efforts as best we  could with the money made available by Congress. After September II, CTC grew  CIA was fighting the war in Afghanistan with the US military. Themagnitude of our focus on terrorism almost eliminated other Agency programs, such ascounter-narcotics. Analysts were being pulled from all accounts to so ort CTC'sefforts. The Office of Transnational Analysis grew  Senior policymakers, led by the President of the United States ha one ovem ing priority: fighting thewar on terror. In January 2002, I realigned CIA to recognize this reality.Other ErrorsOther errors. in your report need to be 'corrected. For example, on line 103%, thereport states that in the period after the Cole attack, the NSC expressed dissatisfactionwith the Cl'because of its inability to stop such incidentsand according to information Dick Clarke provided to the 9/11 Commission,Sandy Berger "upbraided Tenet so sharply.. that it led Tenet to walk out of a PrincipalsCommittee meeting." This rendition is not correct. I walked out of the meeting becauseprincipals were complaining about a piece of intelligence which they claimed they hadnot seen when in fact the item in question had been provided to them the day before. Myreaction had absolutely nothing to do with the Cole.3 Simple courtesywould have called for you showing me this portion of the report before you produced afinal draft.Another error that needs to be corrected appears no page 288. The re rt does notproperly characterize the position I took in a Principals meeting?TOr?sten  who was in the meeting, can confirm my recollection.7Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800Concluding RemarksOn September 15, 2001, the Chief of CTC and I presented the President of theUnited States a strategy to attack al-Qa'ida in its Afghanistan sanctuary and a worldwideplan that covered 92 countries. We could only have made this presentation because CTCand the Intelligence Community had a thorough understanding of our adversary. Ourplan was based on actions that we took over a sustained period of time to use the assets ofthe Community to collect against the target, to develop relationships with key liaisonservices, to develop networks of assets inside the sanctuary, and to develop innovativetechnologies to deal with an illusive target.Our plan was adopted and we were given expanded authorities and significantadditional resources by the President to fight the war on terror. Since then, al-Qa'ida'ssanctuary has been eliminated in Afghanistan, and the central leadership of al-Qa'ida hasbeen eliminated. The Plan we established in 1999, and the resources we were able tomarshal throughout the Community in the budget and political environment in which wehad to operate, allowed us to succeed after September 11.In reflecting on the pertinent elements of my December 1998 memorandum, thefacts show:(a) That we aggressively engaged all liaison services which had thegreatest potential to collect against and disrupt al-Qa'ida's operationsaround the world, and those services that possessed the capabilities tocapture Bin Ladin;(b) That as a result of my direction and ADDCl/C Allen's aggressiveimplementation we pursued every avenue to drive U.S. intelligence tomeet CTC's requirements, including all available conventional andspecial collection methods;(c) That there was immediate engagement with Special OperationsCommand, DoD collection assets and program SAPs;(d) That I personally involved the Director of the FBI and his Deputy andgave them full transparency into our efforts;(e) That I worked diligently to marshal resources and people in a period oftime when the world did not stand still and rebuilding America'sintelligence capabilities was essential.8i or SECRET8CODEWORD SENSITIVEApproved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800Your report challenges my professionalism, diligence and skill in leading the menand women of US intelligence in countering terrorism. I take this challenge to myreputation very seriously. I did everything I could to inform, warn and motivate action toprevent harm. Your report does not fairly or accurately portray my actions, or the heroicwork of the men and women of the intelligence Community. Your report is devoid ofany information from those in senior policy positions or evert within the IntelligenceCommunity who know of my efforts to counter terrorism from 1997 to September 2001.? It is simply not fair to make judgments about my performance without having a complete? understanding of the facts.9TOP SECRET//CODEWORD CENSITIVEApproved for Release: 2015/06/10 006220800