GEORGE J. TENET
|Joint Statement From George J. Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee
August 11, 2011
Recently an edited video of an October 2009 interview with former NSC official
Richard Clarke surfaced. In the video, Mr Clarke appears to make some serious
but totally unsubstantiated charges. The following is a joint statement from
former CIA Director George Tenet, former Chief of CIA's Counterterrorist Center
Cofer Black and former senior CIA official Richard Blee who are all mentioned in
the video tape.
Richard Clarke was an able public servant who served his country well for
many years. But his recently released comments about the run up to 9/11 are
reckless and profoundly wrong.
Clarke starts with the presumption that important information on the travel
of future hijackers to the United States was intentionally withheld from him
in early 2000. It was not.
He wildly speculates that it must have been the CIA Director who could have
ordered the information withheld. There was no such order. In fact, the
record shows that the Director and other senior CIA officials were unaware of
the information until after 9/11.
The handling of the information in question was exhaustively looked at by the
9/11 Commission, the Congressional Joint Inquiry, the CIA Inspector
General and other groups.
The 9/11 Commission quite correctly concluded that “It appears no one
informed higher levels of management in either the FBI or CIA about the
In early 2000, a number of more junior personnel (including FBI agents on
detail to CIA) did see travel information on individuals who later became
hijackers but the significance of the data was not adequately recognized at the
Since 9/11 many systemic changes have been made to improve the
watchlisting process and enhance information sharing within and across
Building on his false notion that information was intentionally withheld, Mr.
Clarke went on to speculate--which he admits is based on nothing other than
his imagination--that the CIA might have been trying to recruit these two
future hijackers as agents. This, like much of what Mr. Clarke said in his
interview, is utterly without foundation.
Many years after testifying himself at length before the 9/11 Commission but
making no mention of his wild theory, Mr. Clarke has suddenly invented
baseless allegations which are belied by the record and unworthy of serious
We testified under oath about what we did, what we knew and what we didn't
know. We stand by that testimony.