Frontline Slam Dunks George Tenet
06.22.2006 03:18 | DISPATCHES
Frontline's "The Dark Side," which aired Tuesday night, boasts a score of interviews with intelligence heavy-hitters from Richard Clarke to Michael Scheuer ("Anonymous") to Vince Cannistraro. In particular, it's merciless on George Tenet, who comes off as a tragic figure and a moral failure. The climax of the show occurs when Lawrence Dickerson, Colin Powell's right-hand man when he was secretary of state, describes how Tenet looked Powell in the eye and assured him that the evidence of Iraqi WMD was sound.
"The Dark Side" reveals how Tenet not only lost to the world champion tag team of bureaucratic in-fighting -- Cheney and Rumsfeld -- but he sold our country down the road out of some misplaced gratitude to George Bush for not placing the blame for 9/11 on him. And in the process, sold his soul.
The show's appearance on national TV points out how the public has come to assume that Bush & Co. lied us into war. Its title, meanwhile, demonstrates how it's become part of the public mythology that Cheney, like Darth Vader, serves the Dark Side. The clips Frontline aired of Cheney lying on TV are revealing.
When they lie, many people let a little "tell" slip. They cast glances your way that you wouldn't take note of unless you're trained to look for them. They seem to say, "Are you buying this? Am I getting away with this?" Cheney, like anyone else, gives who he's addressing those sidelong looks. But his are more perfunctory, as if he really doesn't care if you think he's lying.