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Online Video of George Tenet 9/11 Lie at OU Speech

Monday 11 July 2005

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Michael P. Wright
Norman, Oklahoma
July 11, 2005

[Links to documents which substantiate this article are below the text.]

Former CIA director George Tenet has publicly accused Time magazine of making a false report about the agency’s conduct shortly before the 9/11 attack. The accusation was made during a speech at the University of Oklahoma on March 8, 2005. According to Time, in August 2001 the CIA had misinformed the FBI about Zacarias Moussaoui, who was later indicted and accused of conspiring with the 9/11 terrorists. Moussaoui has now pled guilty to all charges in the indictment.

Tenet is widely known as a close friend and protege of former U.S. Senator David Boren, who resigned from the Senate in 1994 and became OU’s president. Time magazine also reported that on the morning of the 9/11 attack, Boren and Tenet were having a "leisurely breakfast" together in a Washington hotel. Tenet had become CIA director in 1997 and resigned in 2004.

I was able to ask a couple of questions from the audience during Tenet’s OU speech. Beneath this report there is the online URL for a website which has the video which will display my questions and Tenet’s answers. I encourage readers to review this text first, in order to comprehend the significance of this encounter and Tenet’s accusation against Time.

Below is a transcript of this brief discussion:

Wright: [introducing myself] Mike Wright. Mr. Tenet, Time reported in June of 2002 about the fact that in August 2001 the FBI headquarters was being confronted with a request from its Minneapolis agents to search the computer of Zacarias Moussaoui.

Tenet: [interrupting]: Right.

Wright: And reported that the CIA erroneously painted up Moussaoui to be just a religious extremist,

Tenet: [interrupting] That’s not true.

Wright: but not an Al Qaeda member. Well, obviously it wasn’t true. My question to you is how do you account for that terrible lapse of intelligence in 2001?

Tenet: There wasn’t a lapse of intelligence. We knew who Moussaoui was all the time. In fact, the FBI came to us to help them since they couldn’t get the court authorization or the data to get a judge to authorize it. They came to us for help. We knew exactly who Moussaoui was...

[The event hostess had removed the microphone, so at this time I had to shout]

Wright: Did Time magazine make a mistake?

Tenet: Yes sir, they did. They were absolutely wrong.

[end of transcript]

When Tenet said "That’s not true" he meant that the magazine’s report was not true. When I said "obviously that wasn’t true," I meant that the CIA’s August 2001 statement about Moussaoui not being an Al Qaeda member was false.

Whom do we believe? Tenet or Time? The overwhelming fact is that in August 2001, the FBI headquarters denied the Minneapolis agents’ request for permission to search Moussaoui’s computer, after he had been arrested there, precisely because they were acting on the advice from the CIA that Moussaoui was just a religious extremist, and not an Al Qaeda member. Time reported this wrongful advice from the CIA in its issue of June 3, 2002.

Had Tenet’s CIA been telling the truth in August 2001, the FBI headquarters would have been put in the position of having to cooperate with the Minneapolis agents’ search request. The fact that they didn’t grant it is a heavy piece of evidence that Time was telling the real story and Tenet was lying in August 2001 and again on March 8 at OU. In 2002, Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley gained national fame for her expression of protest over the fact that the agency’s headquarters obstructed this search.

Possibility of Preventing 9/11 Attack Undermined

The 9/11 Commission admitted in its final report that a "maximum U.S. effort to investigate Moussaoui" at that time "might have brought investigators to the core of the 9/11 plot" and possibly derailed it (p. 276 — Norton edition). What was derailed instead was an effort which could have spared the nation the agony of 9/11 and all its consequences: wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, stock market crash, Patriot Act, and severe damage to the airline industry. Higher education institutions have also been damaged because fewer foreign students are willing to undergo the post-9/11 ordeals associated with gaining entry to the USA.

Rowley’s protest letter to the FBI director confirms that the agency headquarters was engaged in deliberations over the search warrant request as early as August 22. Evidence published in The Washington Times, based on Tenet’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission, indicates that Tenet was briefed about Moussaoui on August 23 or 24.

Tenet would have us believe that in August 2001 the CIA was cooperating in the Moussaoui matter in an honest and competent fashion. He claimed that the FBI "came to us for help" for the purpose of getting a judge to authorize the requested search warrant. This is contradicted by a KOCO-TV news report, assisted by AP, stating that in mid-August "the FBI told the CIA of concerns Moussaoui might be a terrorist, and the CIA checked its own files and found nothing on him."

Tenet announced at his March 2005 speech at OU that he knew who Moussaoui was when the CIA was communicating about him to the FBI. He further stated that Time was "absolutely wrong" in reporting that the CIA was misrepresenting Moussaoui at that time.

What do we believe? Here are the logical possibilities:

1. Tenet and the CIA knew about Moussaoui’s membership in Al Qaeda and gave an honest report to the FBI in August 2001; accepting this as truth would lead to believing that the FBI headquarters mischievously ignored this information and refused to grant permission for the August 2001 computer search;

2. Tenet and the CIA knew about Moussaoui’s membership in Al Qaeda and lied to the FBI in August 2001; telling this lie actually enabled the Al Qaeda 9/11 plot to go forward; the article in Time was correct; or

3. Tenet and the CIA were ignorant about Moussaoui at the time of these events.

I favor number two. At the very least, these questions fortify the demand for a new and honest official investigation of the 9/11 attack, with focus on the incompetence and possible criminality of the inner circles of the U.S. intelligence community.

— end —


Video of Tenet Telling Lie (May 12 entry)

Time (June 3, 2002)

Time (Coleen Rowley protest)


Washingon Times