The Corner

Fox News Sunday Roundtable

From Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:

On George Tenet

WALLACE: What do you make of the fact that they gave him the Medal of Freedom? Was it an effort to keep Tenet inside the tent, which ultimately failed?

JUAN WILLIAMS: Well, I think that’s exactly right, because they gave it to Bremer. They gave it to Tenet. Bremer and Tenet now have come out with books highly critical of the way that this war has been conducted. . . .

But he doesn’t take much shots at the president himself. And maybe he felt he was part of a team. He had been part of the Clinton team. He was part of the Bush team, and he always focused on being loyal to that leadership. Maybe that’s what he thought he was doing. Maybe he was grateful that President Bush didn’t force him out when President Bush came on board. He had been Clinton’s CIA director.

HUME: He says in the book that the enhanced interrogation techniques which have been derided by some as torture . . . were more useful and more effective and more helpful in heading off terrorist plots and attacks than all the other forms of intelligence combined — is what he basically says.

That is an extraordinarily broad, comprehensive, and ambitious statement. It does, however, seem to reflect the attitude within the intelligence community about the efficacy of these techniques, and that is why you had this ferocious defense of them from Mike Hayden, from the president and from all others involved. I think that is a very important point.

And Tenet, who I think more highly of than perhaps others at this table, deserves to be heard on that and listened to carefully, because he was in a position and is — and at the time, at least, was in a position to know.

On the Democratic Primary Debate

WALLACE: The question was, “How would you change the U.S. military stance overseas if there were another al Qaida attack on this country?” And those initial responses from Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are getting much of the attention from the first debate this week.

BILL KRISTOL: Obama’s answer is ludicrous. He’s campaigning to be first responder in chief. Al Qaida attacks two U.S. cities with nuclear weapons, and his first thought is Bush really messed up Katrina, I better go check on FEMA’s preparedness.

Now, having said that, Obama expressed the heart and soul of the Democratic party, which is they want the response to the war on terror, to the global Islamist jihadist threat, to be first responders, not to be taking the war to the enemy.

I admire Senator Clinton for being more hawkish than Senator Obama, but I think Senator Obama is more in tune with most Democratic voters, probably.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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