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11/09/2004

Cofer Black Resigned

Cofer Black, the head of counterterrorism in the Department of State, resigned on Friday.

Richard Clarke:

Cofer Black was a hard-charging, get-it-done kind of CIA officer who had proved himself in the back alleys of unsavory places. He was what the CIA needed a lot more of, but had little of. I had urged George Tenet to find such a guy to run the Counterterrorism Center, someone who shared Tenet's view and mine that we had to go on the offensive. Unfortunately, Black reported to Tenet through the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations, Jim Pavitt, and Pavitt thought both Tenet and I were exaggerating the whole al Qaeda threat and would get CIA in trouble. [Against All Enemies, 205]
Clarke and Black worked together on the millenium plots, apparently doing a bang up job. Black shared Clarke's frustration with the bureaucratic inertia and incompetent leadership that hindered effective coutnerterrorism policy. And apparently it got to him. He released a 2003 State Dept. report falsely showing that terrorist attacks were dropping. He released a 2004 State Dept. report again falsely claiming that attacks were dropping - but this time the errors were discovered. He also made some questionable comments about Pakistan's efforts to turn up OBL right after the Republican Convention. Black was a big talker:
Soon after this episode, I visited the office of Cofer Black, a veteran of the C.I.A. whom President Bush appointed last year to be the State Department’s coördinator for counter-terrorism. If Black was isappointed about the failure to find bin Laden, he did not betray it. He leaned forward across the coffee table separating us and said emphatically, "The guy’s a goner. The only question is whether he’ll be arrested in cuffs or taken dead. He deserves to die."

If bin Laden was killed, Black continued, the world would demand proof. "You’d need some DNA," he said. "There’s a good way to do it. Take a machete, and whack off his head, and you’ll get a bucketful of DNA, so you can see it and test it. It beats lugging the whole body back!"
Interesting Testimony:

Testimony to 9/11 Commission [PDF] 9/26/02
Report on House Testimony
Intelligence Reform 8/19/04

 

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