Trouble For Tenet? (3/20/97)
Tenet's The One (3/19/97)
Who's Next At Bat? (3/18/97)
Clinton Praises Ex-Nominee Lake (3/18/97)
Lake Drops Out (3/17/97)
Tenet Confirmation Hearings Underway
CIA director-nominee faces warmer climate on Capitol Hill than did Lake
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 6) -- It looks like smooth sailing for George Tenet's nomination as CIA director in his Senate confirmation hearing today. Tenet is basking in kind words from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Glowing introductions for the New York native were made by Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.), Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and former Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.) as the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing got rolling this morning. Tenet was characterized as a man of "integrity" and "honor" who will run the agency in a nonpartisan manner.
Since he was nominated in March, positive reviews have followed Tenet. The favorable reaction was a sharp contrast to the grilling that greeted President Bill Clinton's last nominee, former National Security Adviser Anthony Lake. Lake withdrew his own nomination in the face of intense Republican opposition.
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who was one of Lake's most vocal critics, said going into Tenet's hearings, "I would think at this point in time the nomination looks good."
Tenet, 44, has been acting director of the spy agency for the past six months. He served as its No. 2 official under former CIA director John Deutch since May 1995, when he won easy confirmation as deputy director.
Insider knowledge of the workings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gained during his tenure as its staff director from 1988 to 1993, will also benefit Tenet during the confirmation process.
Even so, tough questioning is expected on several of the top issues currently facing the CIA. Tenet will have to answer for the agency's failure to alert the Pentagon about the threat of chemical weapons during the Persian Gulf War and its role in Democratic Party efforts to gain intelligence about donors.
Tenet is also expected to be questioned about low morale at the CIA, and the growing distrust of the American people, in the wake of the Aldrich Ames and Harold Nicholson spy cases.
If confirmed, Tenet would be third CIA director to serve the Clinton Administration, and the fifth top spy in six years.
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