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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Tenet resignation: Reaction in quotes
US politicians and other key figures have been giving their reaction to the surprise resignation of CIA director George Tenet. US President George W Bush said the intelligence chief was leaving for "personal reasons".

Correspondents say Mr Tenet has faced months of criticism and calls for his resignation, over what has been perceived as CIA intelligence lapses on a number of fronts.

Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry:

"I have known George Tenet for many years, and I wish him the very best. He has worked extremely hard on behalf of our nation, and we are grateful for his effort.

"There is no question, however, that there have been significant intelligence failures, and the administration has to accept responsibility for those failures.

"This is an opportunity for the president to lead. As I've said for some time, we must reshape our intelligence community for the 21st Century and create a new position of 'director of national intelligence' with real control of all intelligence personnel and budgets."

FBI Director Robert Mueller:

"In my experience in working with him, he has sought at every turn to bridge the gap between the CIA and the FBI.

I believe that he is a true leader, certainly in the intelligence field, but beyond that. His loss... will be felt by us at the FBI."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican):

"Mr Tenet had a monumental task to rebuild human intelligence-gathering capabilities devastated by eight years of liberal Clinton administration policies.

"He served his country a long time. History will tell what the implications of his tenure were. I think history will either vindicate him or say: 'Hey, there was a problem there'."

Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi, until recently a key Washington ally:

"[Tenet] was behind the charges against me that claimed that I gave intelligence information to Iran. I denied these charges and I will deny them again.

"He continued attempting to make a coup d'etat against Saddam in the face of all possible evidence that this would be unsuccessful. His policies caused the death of hundreds of Iraqis in these futile efforts."

Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton:

"I was struck by the timing, since the whole controversy around Chalabi is heating up and Chalabi blames the CIA for his problems and there are a lot of pro-Chalabi supporters still at the highest levels of the administration."

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (Democrat):

"I'm surprised. I don't think anyone saw it coming. I think we need to know more about the reasons why this surprise announcement came today.

"Mr Tenet's been under very harsh criticism. I think clearly he's been under great pressure and some criticism. Whether or not that's a factor is not something I can comment on."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat):

"I think there are many more people who are responsible for the mess that the Bush administration has gotten us into.

"But if Mr Tenet thinks there should be a change of leadership at the Central Intelligence Agency - for whatever reason, including taking one for the administration - then so be it."

Representative Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee:

"[Tenet] restored morale and provided stability and continuity at a crucial time.

"I have been critical of the pre-war intelligence on Iraq's [unconventional weapons] and ties to terror, as well as failures leading up to the attacks of 9/11.

"With Tenet's departure, the president has the opportunity to fix these problems by transforming the job that Tenet held."

Former CIA director Stansfield Turner in an interview for CNN:

"I think he's being pushed out or made a scapegoat. That is, that the president feels he's got to have somebody to blame, and he's doing it indirectly by asking Tenet to leave.

"I don't think he [Tenet] would pull the plug on President Bush in the middle of an election cycle without having been asked by the president to do that."

Senior Republican Senator Trent Lott:

"I do think that this is a positive move for him personally and for the agency. His resignation will also give the president the opportunity to implement other needed reforms in the intelligence community to improve its operation."

CIA chief George Tenet quits
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06 Feb 04 |  Americas

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