President Bush and the CIA

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

President Bush and the CIA, that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.  The Senate Intelligence Committee (search) is set to issue a blistering report, saying the CIA totally blew pre-war intelligence on Iraq.  That's what The Washington Post is reporting.

According to the Post, both Republicans and Democrats on the committee are critical of CIA Chief George Tenet (search), who was appointed by Bill  Clinton, but has been supported by Mr. Bush.

On the surface, Tenet looks like he's in trouble.  The CIA can't find Usama, can't find Taliban Chief Mullah Omar (search), can't find Saddam, can't find weapons of mass destruction, even though Tenet told President Bush Saddam had them.

With that kind of resume, you'd think the president would be looking around for or a replacement.  The CIA issued a statement today saying it would like a chance to present its side of the story.  And that's fair.  Director Tenet should hold a press conference and explain what the heck's going on.  But I don't expect any revelations other than we tried our best.  And obviously that hasn't been good enough.

Unlike the FBI, which has risen to the occasion after 9/11 and pro-actively protected us against another attack, the CIA continues to stumble and our image around the world is suffering because of it.  When Colin Powell (search) went to the United Nations (search) to persuade the world Saddam was a threat, he used pictures and tape provided by the CIA.  Millions of us believed Secretary Powell.

But now that we've defeated Saddam, none of the evidence Powell pointed to can be found.  The CIA should have an explanation.

The good news for President Bush is that the Senate Intelligence Committee states firmly that he did not lie about anything.  So far, left bomb throwers like Senator Kennedy should be embarrassed and ashamed.  Accusing somebody of lying is itself lying if you don't have hard evidence. --And Kennedy and other ideologues don't.

It looks like President Bush, President Clinton before him, and other powerful congress people were simply given erroneous information by the CIA  and other intelligence outfits.  We need to know why that happened.

George Tenet should get a full hearing, but if his explanations aren't compelling, he should be asked to resign.  If President Bush carries him into the election, it will hurt the president.  Most Americans want effective intelligence, not excuses.  We need to find the villains who would kill us.  And we need to know exactly why the Iraq situation is so screwed up.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Some people have been asking me to recommend some books for holiday gifts, after they get Who's Looking Out for You? of course.

I like Alan Colmes' Red, White & Liberal, -- no smears, -- and Colmes makes some interesting arguments.  The opposite point of view is well represented in Laura Ingraham's Shut Up and Sing.

Historians will like Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham, an editor at NewsweekMeant to Be by Walter Anderson is an emotional read.  And my favorite fiction writer, James Lee Burke, has a new Dave Robicheaux book out called Last Car to Elysian Fields.

All of those books will teach you something, and that's not ridiculous.