Professor Name Day Month Year George Tenet and the Last Great Days of the CIA Summary of the Excerpt Richard White has written a most fascinating account about George Tenet and his tenure at the CIA. As with any brief biographical sketch, it is important to understand the background of what is begin spoken of…
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Serving as director from 1997 to 2004, he was able to balance the policies of the both President Clinton and then President Bush Jr. This means that his time as director allowed him to witness the unfortunate terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq, among other controversial events of the late 90’s and early new millennium. White (2008) points out that, “Few other central intelligence directors have served for so long, so energetically, or amid so much controversy” (para. 1). With so many events happening in rapid succession, it is difficult to cover each one with any depth. White does a great job, however, highlighting major policy issues and decisions that Tenet was faced with during his tenure. In addition, much of the article deals with government and public perception of his job performance. It has been said that George Tenet was certainly blunt and straight forward, but he was also fiercely loyal. White (2008) notes that Tenet was a workhorse who likely got this from his parents. He grew up in Queens, where his parents settled after emigrating from Greece (para. 4). His parents ended up scraping together enough money and bought a diner. That is where the family worked 16-hour days together. He took this same work ethic and devotion to the job with him to Washington. The article recounts that George Tenet began his career in government as a legislative assistant in 1982 for Senator John Heinz. From there, he moved on to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. This is where he got his passion for security and intelligence. He became quite a force around Washington and moved up through the ranks. The article walks the reader through these early years and tells about Tenet landing a place on Bill Clinton’s transition team to the Presidency. He informed the President on issues related to intelligence. He so impressed President Clinton, that he was kept on and began performing various functions until moving to the CIA in 1995, and eventually earning the appointment as director in 1997 (White Para. 6). This brief description provided in the article really enables the reader to understand the process by which George Tenet came to be director and the philosophies and style of work that he would bring to the office. Now that White has established what bought Tenet to the most powerful position in the intelligence world, he spends the next part of the article discussing the state of the CIA at the time. We discover that the entire organization was really in bad shape. White hammers this home by reminding readers that, “The agency had suffered inconsistent leadership since the fall of the Soviet Union, and [Tenet] was the fifth Director of Central Intelligence in seven years” (White, para. 10). This is where the explanation of where Tenet’s work ethic comes into play. He was not afraid to put in the hours required to turn around the agency. We learn in the article that the Agency had recently lost nearly 20 percent of its workforce (White, Para. 10) and that morale was at an all time low. To combat this, Tenet immediately set out to bring back some seasoned officers who had recently retired, and he began to resurrect a budgetary system that was in shambles. This would enable the CIA to get a grip on recent technology that it was missing out on and become a major player in
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“George Tenet and the Last Great Days of the CIA Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1471935-george-tenet-and-the-last-great-days-of-the-cia.
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