Magazine article Insight on the News

Tenet Gets Late Start on Jumping Clinton Ship

Magazine article Insight on the News

Tenet Gets Late Start on Jumping Clinton Ship

Article excerpt

With the Clinton administration inching nearer its finale, Washington fast is becoming one giant job fair, with anxious political appointees dusting down their resumes and flicking through their contact books. The better-prepared already have landed post-Clinton corporate jobs or university positions, but others are engaged in a race against time and are pitched against colleagues in their bid to ensure a good paycheck come January.

Among them is CIA Director George Tenet. According to sources at Langley, Tenet has "put out feelers" across the city and in New York in an effort to find a new berth. He even may go before the end of the Clinton term, if he can secure the right offer.

But it is proving difficult for the CIA director. Tenet was a congressional "backroom boy" for most of his career. Prior to his appointment to the halls of Langley he had no major business or political profile to boast. Most of his predecessors did and had little trouble exiting smoothly when their time came to go. James Woolsey joined a high-powered law firm, as did Richard Helms. George Bush went on to become ambassador to Beijing. Even Robert Gates, who also was not high-profile outside the CIA before becoming director, landed well-paid consultancies.

Tenet's tenure at Langley also has not been crowned with glittering success, further reducing his chances of attracting a high-salaried job. It was on his watch that U.S. warplanes were wrongly directed last summer to bomb the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, and the CIA did not cloak itself with glory when it failed to predict India's nuclear tests. Earlier this year, the congressional intelligence committees took a dim view in their annual authorization reports of the state of the CIA.

"Put it this way: He is not being crowded by headhunters," says one Langley source. "The latest I heard was that he is trying to negotiate something over at Georgetown University."

RELATED ARTICLE: New CIA No. 2 Man Is No Politician

If CIA Director George Tenet does depart before this lame-duck administration sees out its final months, the agency still will have a good caretaker in the CIA's new No. 2, John McLaughlin, say Langley sources.

Appointed deputy director by Clinton at the beginning of July, McLaughlin is a career CIA analyst who for the last three years has sought as director of intelligence to reemphasize the importance of in-depth and long-term analysis. In an effort to stop veteran analysts from jumping to management positions within the agency, he has tried to create a defined career track for them, and he instituted a new training institute, the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, for all new hires. …

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