Friday, August 26, 2005

Internal Report Said to Fault C.I.A. for Pre-9/11 Actions

A long-awaited C.I.A. inspector general's report on the agency's performance before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks includes detailed criticism of more than a dozen former and current agency officials, aiming its sharpest language at George J. Tenet, the former director, according to a former intelligence officer who was briefed on the findings and another government official who has seen the report.Mr. Tenet is censured for failing to develop and carry out a strategic plan to take on Al Qaeda in the years before 2001, even after he wrote in a 1998 memo to intelligence agencies that "we are at war" with it, they said, speaking about the highly classified report on condition of anonymity.
The report was delivered to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on Tuesday by Porter J. Goss, the current C.I.A. director. Its preparation and previous drafts have provoked strong emotions at the beleaguered agency, which has borne the brunt of public criticism in a series of major studies of intelligence failures.
The inspector general, John L. Helgerson, intends to send Congress additional materials, including a compilation of responses from Mr. Tenet and about two dozen other officials, the officials said.
The report describes systemic problems at the agency before 2001, the officials said. In addition to criticizing Mr. Tenet; James L. Pavitt, the former deputy director of operations; and J. Cofer Black, the former director of the agency's Counterterrorist Center, it offers praise for some specific actions taken by them and other officials, they said.
The findings place Mr. Goss in a delicate position. As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in the years before the attacks, he influenced intelligence policies and monitored intelligence agencies. As a leader of the joint Congressional inquiry into the attacks, he joined in requesting the inspector general's inquiry nearly three years ago.Now, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he will have to decide whether to take disciplinary action against any of those criticized, risking a further blow to the morale of an agency still charged with protecting the country against future terrorist attacks. The report recommends that Mr. Goss convene "accountability boards" to recommend personnel actions against those faulted in the report, who are identified by title rather than by name. Officials said the only action possible against Mr. Tenet and other officials who have retired would probably be to send them a letter of reprimand.........


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