Rice Suggests Former CIA Director's 'Slam Dunk' Comment Was Clear Idea

Former CIA Director George Tenet may go easy on President Bush in his new book, but he is very critical of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In the book titled "At the Center of the Storm" out Monday, Tenet writes that the Bush administration was in a rush to take down Saddam Hussein and stretch intelligence to justify the action.

Tenet also claims that he told Rice in the summer before Sept. 11, 2001, that a significant terrorist strike on the United States was in the works.

He defends his now famous line that pre-war intelligence on Iraq was a "slam dunk," saying the remark was taken out of context "and has haunted me ever since it first appeared in Bob Woodward's book 'Plan of Attack.'"

"Woodward quotes the president in his book as saying that my 'slam dunk' comment was a very important moment. I truly doubt President Bush had any better recollection of the comment than I did. Nor will I ever believe it shaped his view about either the legitimacy or the timing of waging war. ... 'Slam dunk,' [Woodward] said, 'was the basis of this incredibly critical decision the president and his war Cabinet were making on, do we invade Iraq?'" Tenet wrote.

"I have another two-word reaction to that statement. The first word is 'bull,'" he continued.

But that's not how then-National Security Adviser Rice sees it, saying Sunday morning that "slam dunk" is a pretty clear concept.

"When George said 'slam dunk,' everybody understood that he believed that the intelligence was strong. We all believed the intelligence was strong. The sad fact of how all of this has gotten talked about is that there was a problem with intelligence, but it wasn't just a problem with intelligence in the United States. It was an intelligence problem worldwide. Services across the world thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," Rice told CBS' "Face the Nation."

Michael Scheuer, the man who headed the CIA unit responsible for tracking Usama bin Laden criticized his former boss on Sunday, accusing Tenet of trying to blame others and excuse himself for the failings of Sept. 11 and Iraq.

"I think what he's saying is the agency was right, and he didn't have the courage to resign and tell the American people that, which ought to cast doubt on what he said the agency knew and didn't know before 9/11," he said.

National Security Council Director for Iraq Brett McGurk told FOX News that weapons of mass destruction were only part of the reason for going to war there.

"Look at the Senate resolution that was passed in October 2002. There were 23 'whereas' clauses" listing the reasons for going to war, he said.

"There's a lot of looking back in the rear view mirror. Gen. Petraeus is looking over the hood," McGurk said of the current commander leading operations in Iraq.

Rice added that reasons for war included Saddam Hussein's subverting sanctions, stealing from the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program and terrorizing his own people.

"The Iraqi people were living under draconian sanctions that were making life more difficult even as Saddam Hussein was putting more and more people in mass graves," Rice said, adding that the administration decided to go after Hussein when it had a good chance for success.

"The question of imminence isn't whether or not somebody is going to strike tomorrow. It's whether you believe you're in a stronger position today to deal with the threat or whether you're going to be in a stronger position tomorrow. And it was the president's assessment that the situation in Iraq was getting worse from our point of view.

Despite his criticism, in the new book, Tenet does praise the use of aggressive interrogation tactics used on captured Al Qaeda suspects, saying they have helped to break up terror plots in the United States and around the world.

FOX News' Julie Kirtz contributed to this report.