The Corner

Dunk Context

Tenet is upset that his remark was taken out of context, but this original account from Woodward makes it clear that the meeting was about presenting the WMD case:

Two days later, Tenet and McLaughlin went to the Oval Office. The meeting was for presenting “The Case” on WMD as it might be presented to a jury with Top Secret security clearances. There was great expectation. In addition to the president, Cheney, Rice and White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. attended.

Also, Woodward seems right on in dealing with Tenet’s objection to his reporting in this passage from State of Denial:

Tenet later claimed he did not remember saying “slam dunk,” though he did not dispute it. He asserted that the meeting was to determine what intelligence could be made public to “market” the case for war. That is correct, as I reported in Plan of Attack. But a public case for war could hardly be a “slam dunk” if the CIA director did not believe that the underlying intelligence was also a “slam dunk.” Obviously, Tenet had believed it was. Since, the National Intelligence Estimate of three months earlier had flatly asserted that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons, it is not surprising that Tenet was a believer. He has a strong case when he asserts that his “slam dunk” assertion did not cause the president to decide on war. Tenet believes Bush had already made the decision.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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