FORMER HIGH-RANKING OFFICIAL AT THE C.I.A., DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS JAMES PAVITT, MAKES HIS FIRST TELEVISION APPEARANCE SINCE HIS RETIREMENT WITH NBC'S CHRIS HANSEN ON 'DATELINE NBC, SUNDAY, OCT. 17
NEW YORK -� October 15, 2004 -� In his first television interview since his retirement in August 2004, former high-ranking official at the C.I.A., Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt, responds to criticism the C.I.A. received following the events of Sept. 11 and comments on prewar intelligence on Iraq. In addition, Pavitt shares with NBC's Chris Hansen that he and others have been struggling to build a spy force that he believes in the 1990s was underfunded and understaffed. The interview will be broadcast on Sunday, Oct. 17 on "Dateline NBC" (7:00 PM, ET).
Excerpts from the interview:
Re: C.I.A. intelligence prior to the events of Sept. 11:
Pavitt: In 1995, the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations trained a total of about 25 people...It's a disgraceful number. The country deserved better than that.
Hansen: How did it come to that? How did the C.I.A., our first line for intelligence get to such a point?
Pavitt: I think it's a...reflection of... the belief that the cold war was won. We did not...need people-- doing the kind of things that... C.I.A. directorate of operations, the clandestine service did.... Two or three weeks before that first aircraft slammed in to the first tower in New York, there was a debate at C.I.A. about the rebuilding of the clandestine service. And...I passionately argued to stay the course, to invest the money. In one instance, I threatened to resign if we did not get the resources.
Re: Prewar Intelligence on Iraq:
Hansen: In Bob Woodward's book, he quotes your former boss, George Tenet, as telling President Bush of the case against Iraq. It is a quote, "slam dunk."
Pavitt: Chris, I wasn't at the meeting, so I do not know...what transpired. I don't know what was said...
Hansen: Would you have ever used those words to characterize the case against Iraq for going to war?
Pavitt: I would not have used those words for the case against Iraq on weapons of mass destruction. I-- in fact sat in a number of meetings and I said, you know, "There may be a number...of reasons for going to war, but I do not see the intelligence that we have on weapons of mass destruction being one which-- carries the day."
David Corvo is the executive producer of "Dateline NBC."