This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, June 3, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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PRESIDENT BUSH: He's been a strong leader in the war on terror, and I will miss him.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: CIA Director George Tenet says he is quitting to spend more time with his family, and speaking out there on the rubber chicken circuit. More reaction now from Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat on the Select Intelligence Committee. Senator, the big question, so what's the political affect of the Tenet resignation?
SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILL.: Well, I've been on the Senate Intelligence Committee for four years, and I've disagreed with George Tenet on many things and admired him for his service on others. But I don't think his resignation is going to answer the basic question that the American people are going to ask. What are we going to do about the situation in Iraq? What are we going to do about the war on terrorism? From where I'm sitting, it appears that we're in a situation where there are still people at the highest levels of this administration who are misusing intelligence, ignoring intelligence, even creating their own separate intelligence operations. This Ahmed Chalabi episode is exhibit A. Here is a man discredited by the CIA five years ago who continued to be a darling of some at the highest levels of this administration. That wasn't George Tenet's mistake. That was another mistake from others in the administration.
GIBSON: Let me just ask you, though, Senator, not -- setting Mr. Chalabi aside for just a moment, and I'm trying not to cast dispersions on Mr. Tenet because people seem to like him on both sides of the aisle, but with so many intelligence failures, why wouldn't the Pentagon or another government agency set up an auditing operation looking at CIA conclusions about the raw data they got? I mean, that was what you were referring to, and Donald Rumsfeld did do that. Why not?
DURBIN: Because, frankly, what you had was a renegade intelligence operation. Take Chalabi as exhibit A. I know you don't want to talk about him, but he is exhibit A. Here is a man who is under indictment for bank fraud in Jordan, who misrepresented the issue of weapons of mass destruction to this government and has now been accused of treason in the United states, still being defended by Richard Pearl and the higher-ups in this administration. George Tenet and the CIA said more than five years ago you can't trust him. And yet, many in this administration not only trusted him but relied on him for information to invade Iraq. Now, that isn't George Tenet's short coming. That's a shortcoming at the Department of Defense.
GIBSON: But look at this, if you will. Doug Fife's office at the Pentagon was auditing the CIA information and said there are all these connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Why are you ignoring this? And Tenet said -- Tenet said it's not real. But what is real is WMD. That wasn't Chalabi, that was Tenet.
DURBIN: No, Chalabi was one of the sources on WMD from one of his infamous people with the Iraqi National Congress, but the obvious question is this what authority does Doug Fife supervise George Tenet in the CIA? By what authority does Secretary Rumsfeld supervise George Tenet in the CIA. They don't have that line authority. They were given that authority by this administration, and that's why this fractured intelligence operation is not serving this country well.
GIBSON: You are telling me that nobody should overlook -- oversee what the CIA is doing, nobody should audit their information, nobody should take a second look at it?
DURBIN: No, of course, that should be happening right here on Capitol Hill, and not enough is happening. We should have the Senate and House Intelligence Committee and oversight and certainly those in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national security adviser, they all have responsibility over the CIA. But Doug Fife and his operation is a renegade operation that has been created by this administration.
GIBSON: You call it renegade, it was set up by the secretary of defense. That's not exactly a renegade official of the United States government. Are you saying he is?
DURBIN: George Tenet is the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is his job to coordinate all the intelligence agencies and the information that they gather. Instead, what you have is operation in the Department of Defense that has been running separate many times on its own. That doesn't serve our country's security. It creates a division of opinion, a division of authority, and a division of strength, which we don't need in a war on terrorism.
GIBSON: Senator Dick Durbin, thanks for coming on today.
DURBIN: Good to be with you, John.
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