Man Without Qualities

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Mr. Tenet Finds The Egress, But Who's That Piping Up?

The big news today is that George Tenet has resigned from his position as head of the CIA for unspecified "personal reasons." Fine.

Much of the mainstream liberal media, including the New York Times [UPDATE: See note below] and the Associated Press and CNN have been passing out these fairly nasty comments on the resignation:

The official announcement was unconvincing to a former C.I.A. chief, Stansfield Turner, who held the post under President Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Turner said the resignation is "too significant a move at too important a time" to be inspired by nothing more than personal considerations.

"I think he's being pushed out," Mr. Turner said in an interview on C.N.N. "The president feels he has to have someone to blame."

Mr. Turner went on, "I don't think he would pull the plug on President Bush in the midst of an election cycle without being asked by President Bush to do that."

Retired Adm. Turner is entitled to his views and his uninformed speculation, although his offering such thoughts based on the paucity of information at his disposal speaks directly and not well about his own tenure as head of the CIA. Ret. Adm. Turner was once head of the CIA - and the AP and CNN articles identified him only to that extent. To its credit, the New York Times (in the excerpt above) adds that Ret. Adm. Turner held the post under President Jimmy Carter.

But neither the Times nor the AP nor CNN bothers to note that Ret. Adm. Turner is an official advisor to the John Kerry Campaign.

Does that help to explain the rather nasty, partisan edge to Ret. Adm. Turner's comment? What does it say about the AP and the Times and CNN that they make no mention of his affiliation with the Kerry Campaign? And what does it say about Ret. Adm. Turner that he made no reported mention of that affiliation to the reporter who took his comments?

Ah, if only Ret. Adm Turner had been such a sly spook when he was running the CIA.

POSTSCRIPT: The Times article, by serial partisan offender David Stout, also opinionizes: Mr. Bush announced the resignation of the 51-year-old Mr. Tenet in a way that was almost bizarre. What follows is a completely anodyne description of the President giving the information to reporters assembled for a different matter in the Rose Garden. The only thing "almost bizarre" about the proceedings as reported in the Times article is the partisan stamp put on them by Mr. Stout.

UPDATE: The link to the New York Times no longer leads to the original David Stout article, which appears to have been entirely purged from the Times archives. The link now leads to a new Times article by Elisabeth Bumiller and Douglas Jehl which does not include any reference to stealth Kerry advisor Ret. Adm Turner and also omits Mr. Stout's pointless and partisan assertion that Mr. Bush announced the resignation of the 51-year-old Mr. Tenet in a way that was almost bizarre. While it is certainly to the Times credit that the original flawed Stout article has been deleted, and I realize that the Stout article did not appear in my print edition of the Times. But the appearance of a flawed article in the internet edition is also fairly serious. And while the Times has gone far in the right direction, some form of notice to on-line readers that the Stout article included a cite to a Kerry advisor posing as an independent qualified expert is still in order. "Rowback" is really not enough, even where publication is only electronic.

To my knowledge CNN and the AP remain completely shameless, with the Turner references intact and the Kerry connection unexplained. Since writing the original post above, I have actually seen the actual broadcast Turner CNN interview. It is vastly more partisan and speculative than the print version suggests. It's a disgrace - and CNN is still running the interview. But, then, repeat, prolonged disgraces are not unusual for CNN.

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