Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

CIA director Tenet resigns, deputy to step in: Bush

AP AND DPA , WASHINGTON

US President George W. Bush said yesterday that CIA Director George Tenet has resigned "for personal reasons" and that his deputy will temporarily lead America's premier spy agency until a successor is found.

"He's been a strong and able leader at the agency. and I will miss him," said Bush as he was getting ready to board Marine One for a trip to Andrews Air Force Base and on to Europe.

"I send my blessings to George and his family and look forward to working with him until he leaves the agency," Bush said.

Bush said that Tenet delivered a letter of resignation in a White House meeting on Wednesday night.

"I had a good visit with him," Bush said. "I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people."

Tenet had been under fire for months in connection with intelligence failures related to the US-led war against Iraq, specifically assertions the US made about former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's purported possession of weapons of mass destruction, and with respect to the threat from the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

During his seven years at the CIA, speculation at times has swirled around whether Tenet would retire or be forced out, peaking after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and surging again after the flawed intelligence estimates about Iraq's fighting capability.

Tenet has been on the job since July 1997, an unusually lengthy tenure.

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