|At Bush Request, Tenet to Remain
By Vernon Loeb and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 17, 2001; Page A09
George J. Tenet has agreed to remain as director of central intelligence, President-elect Bush announced yesterday, making Tenet the first director in 28 years to remain in office after the White House switched parties.
Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said Tenet has agreed to continue for an undetermined period. Fleischer said Bush will decide Tenet's tenure later, and said he did not know if the search for a successor will continue.
CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said Tenet "is pleased and honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve."
The last director whose tenure was extended when the White House switched parties was Richard M. Helms, who was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 and served until 1973, under President Richard M. Nixon.
With more than three years in office, Tenet is also the longest-serving director since William H. Webster bridged the gap between the Reagan and Bush administrations and served a little over four years from 1987 to 1991.
Bush's father, the former president, served as director of central intelligence for slightly less than a year at the tail end of the Ford administration. He was disappointed that President Jimmy Carter did not ask him to stay on, and believed that the director's post should have been depoliticized and taken out of the partisan transition cycle.
CIA headquarters was renamed the George Bush Center for Intelligence in honor of the former president in April 1999. Tenet threw a huge party for the former president at dedication time and later staged a major Cold War intelligence conference at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
Tenet's reappointment was opposed by some conservatives, particularly Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said last month that he thought Bush should have "his own person there."
But Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, had counseled Tenet's retention and called it very good news. "I think his word is considered good in this town, which is high praise," Goss said.
Tenet, 47, served as CIA Director John M. Deutch's deputy from 1995 to 1996 and became director in July 1997 after Anthony Lake withdrew from consideration after a bitterly partisan confirmation battle in the Senate.
Also yesterday, Fleischer announced that Bush will add a White House position to coordinate economic goals with the national security staff, since "international economic policy now has defense implications and economic implications." The position, a deputy assistant to the president, is to be filled by an expert in international economics, to be named later.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
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