George Tenet Biography

Government Official (1953–)
CIA director George Tenet resigned in 2004 after U.S. forces in Iraq failed to find the weapons of mass destruction he had claimed existed there.


Born in 1953 in New York City, former CIA director George Tenet had a difficult tenure from 1997 to 2004. The agency was widely criticized for failing to prevent the September 11 attacks in 2001, and in 2002 U.S. forces in Iraq failed to find the weapons of mass destruction that Tenet had claimed existed there. He resigned in 2004.



Former Central Intelligence Agency director. Born George John Tenet on January 5, 1953 in Queens, New York. The son of Greek and Albanian immigrants, Tenet grew up working in his family's diner and attending public school in Little Neck, Queens. He received his bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and his master's in international affairs from Columbia University.

Before working for the CIA, George Tenet served as research director for the American Hellenic Institute and legislative director to Pennsylvania Senator H. John Heinz III. He served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1985-1993 before President Clinton appointed him senior director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council. Tenet served as deputy director of the CIA from 1995-1997 and as director from 1997-2004.

During his tenure as CIA director, Tenet and the intelligence community were criticized for their failure to prevent the September 11 terrorist attacks. In 2002, Tenet lent his personal authority to intelligence reports verifying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a key factor in the decision to go to war. Subsequent searches yielded no such stockpiles. In 2004, George Tenet resigned his post as CIA director citing personal reasons. The Deputy Director, James Pavitt, resigned the following day. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom later that year.

In 2007, Tenet published a controversial memoir titled At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. He is married to Stephanie Glakas-Tenet; they have one son.

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