Senate Likes Tenet

Director of Central Intelligence-designate George Tenet received a warm reception at his first Senate confirmation hearing yesterday as Senators of both parties praised his bipartisanship and integrity.

Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee that as director he would focus on keeping talented people at the CIA.

"People come first. As vital as technology is to our work, intelligence is primarily a human endeavor," Tenet said. Directing his statement toward CIA employees, he said, "We will be partners."

Tenet is President Clinton's second pick for CIA director. Former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake withdrew his bid for the position, saying the confirmation process was tortuous and intrusive.

Senators yesterday seemed anxious to confirm Tenet.

"We have quite a few members of the Let George Do It Club," Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said. "I hope we can make some expeditious decisions here."

Tenet served as chief of staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1988 to 1993, prior to becoming the CIA's second-in-command. He is now serving as acting director of the agency.

Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, and several other members praised Tenet for his fairness and honesty as a committee staffer and endorsed him as a strong candidate for DCI.

Though Tenet did not unveil any sweeping management reform proposals, he did say the CIA needed to adjust to a changing world.

"Ultimately, leadership at this moment means closing the door on the Cold War and embracing the challenges and opportunities of a new era," Tenet said.

Several Senators expressed concern about the future of the CIA, saying that reform is needed to improve morale and more attention should be given to the sucesses of the intelligence community.

"I'm not confident that the Directorate of Operations is really reformed enough to minimize to a reasonable level the reoccurrence of subsequent breaches, as in the case of Aldrich Ames," Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said the new director should try to educate the public about the importance of the CIA's work.

"There's a lack of appreciation by the American people of the work that's done day to day in the streets, people spending a lot of hours working behind desks and providing critical information for the policy makers in this government, sometimes risking their lives," he said. "We never hear about the successes; we almost always hear about the failures."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.