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Former CIA Chief Says Cheney, Others Pushed For Iraq War

Tenet accuses Vice President Dick Cheney of pushing for war (file photo) (epa) April 27, 2007 -- The former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials pushed the country to invade Iraq without "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat.

In a new book, George Tenet writes that there was never a "significant discussion" about containing Iraq without an invasion.

Tenet also says his famous "slam dunk" remark about the evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was taken out of context.

Tenet says he used the term to refer broadly to the public case that could be made against Hussein, not his alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

When no WMD was found, Tenet says he was publicly blamed by the administration for exaggerating the evidence.

'Trust Was Broken'

Tenet spoke bitterly about the incident in the U.S. television news program "60 Minutes."

"You are going to throw somebody overboard just because it's a deflection? Is that honorable? It's not honorable to me," he said.

"Now, how it happened and who orchestrated it and what happened -- you know, at the end of the day, the only thing you have is trust and honor in this world," he added. "All you have is your reputation built on trust and your personal honor, and when you don't have that any more, well, you know, there you go. Trust was broken."

In the book, Tenet takes blame for the flawed 2002 "National Intelligence Estimate" about Iraq's weapons programs.

"At the Center of the Storm" will be published on April 30.


Iraq In Transition

Iraq In Transition

THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.