- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2001

CIA Director George J. Tenet has come under increasing pressure from a leading Senate Republican to resign following the failure of the intelligence agency to prevent last week's terrorist attacks.
Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the ranking member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, has made it clear that he believes Mr. Tenet should be replaced as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, given its failure to detect planning for the deadly terrorist attacks on American soil.
"This was a massive intelligence failure. It happened on his watch," Mr. Shelby said yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"If we didn't have a clue, then something's wrong. If we had a clue and didn't act, then something's worse," Mr. Shelby said.
However, some Republicans and Democrats yesterday rushed to defend the CIA chief from Mr. Shelby's criticisms.
Interviewed yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Vice President Richard B. Cheney said, "I think George clearly should remain as director of the CIA I have great confidence in him."
The vice president said he has worked closely with Mr. Tenet in the past seven or eight months and has been impressed. "I think he and his people do superb work for us, and I think it would be a tragedy if, somehow, we were to go back now in the search for scapegoats and say that George Tenet or any other official ought to be eliminated at this point."
Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat and chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in an interview on ABC's "This Week" that he shared the White House's opinion that Mr. Tenet should stay. "I believe that he has served this nation well and honorably," said Mr. Graham.
"What you don't know in this battle against terrorism are all the victories that have been won, because those are all in the darkest shadows of confidentiality," he said.
"This was clearly a failure. Who precisely or what institution or what failure of resources or others was responsible is something that we'll have to know later," Mr. Graham added.
The debate over the CIA's responsibility for the failure to detect last week's kamikaze attacks came on a day of other developments:
President Bush pledged a "crusade" to "rid the world of evil-doers," saying that Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden was the "prime suspect" behind the attacks.
Mr. Cheney warned that those who harbored terrorists would face "the full wrath of the United States."
The New York Stock Exchange and the Mercantile Exchange are set to reopen today.
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said last night that the number of persons missing at the World Trade Center has risen to 4,957; 190 have been confirmed dead, including 37 firefighters and other emergency services workers; and 115 of the dead have been identified. The Pentagon death toll has reached 188.
Mr. Cheney yesterday promised a "thorough reassessment" of both intelligence operations and resources after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He and lawmakers who appeared on network news talk shows yesterday criticized current regulations, which intelligence personnel said restricted them in covert activities.
Mr. Graham also said yesterday that the Senate intelligence committee will introduce legislation this week that will address issues "we think were probably involved" in the CIA's failure to learn about the deadly terrorist attacks in advance.
One provision of the measure, he said, calls for the creation of a position some are describing as a terrorism czar. The person in this post would be "in charge of the U.S. federal government's responsibility for terrorism" and "would have the ability to establish a national program, allocate resources and be held accountable for our response against terrorism," Mr. Graham explained.

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