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June 03, 2004

Tenet's Out; Rudy Can't Fail?

Conservatives have been calling for his head for years.

I've never been on that bandwagon, for several reasons. For one, I doubt that simply sacking the boss will actually change the nature of a huge institution. And the CIA's failures, while of course partly due to Tenet, are mainly due to institutional problems and, frankly, everyone working there. When an NFL team performs poorly, sure, the coach gets sacked more often than not; but let's face it, the coach may be important, but player performance has something to do with losing too.

Another reason I was never super big on firing Tenet: I assumed Bush had reasons for keeping him on. Obviously, Bush no longer has the same level of trust in Tenet now (hence the sacking), so I guess I'm happy to see him go.

I'm curious as to the reasons for this. Not as curious as the lefty bloggers like Joshua Micah Marshall, who are undoubtedly writing novel-length conspiracy theories linking the sacking to Valerie Plame.

Tenet was, I think, a weak director. I think the CIA is a very politicized institution, and I think Tenet wasn't strong enough to push back against the Clintonistas who, for example, claim with an evangelist's passion that there was "no connection" between Saddam and Al Qaeda, despite the mountain of evidence proving beyond any doubt that there was, at the very least, some "connection."

So I'm looking for a strong director, one with credibility with the public, one with popularity with the public, a man with the balls to reform the Agency, a man who's tough enough to tell the Clintonistas that we're going to have a dispassionate analysis about The Connection whether they like it or not.

In other words, I'm looking for Rudy Guiliani.

I don't think this is necessarily a pipe dream. While Rudy has been upfront about his desire to make a pile of money, he undoubtedly also wants to serve America in the fight against terrorism. And DCI isn't some minor posting. He could walk in and take command of an incredibly important institution and change it for the better.

It would be like being Mayor of a Shadow City. And we know Rudy likes being Mayor.

And we all know Rudy wants to be President. And we all know his liberal social positions are a near bar to his getting the nomination from the Republican Party.

He needs to do something big -- something even bigger than his steadfast performance on 9-11 -- to overcome the conservative hesitancy about him.

Becoming a major player in the war on terror and reforming yet another unreformable, sprawling mess could certainly be that "something big."

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posted by Ace at 03:32 PM

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