FILE ID:97050504.TXT

(Tenet confirmation hearings)  (470)


Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby
(Republican-Alabama) and the panel's ranking minority member, Senator
Bob Kerrey (Democrat-Nebraska), plan to question Acting CIA Director
George Tenet about a number of lingering controversies during his
confirmation hearings beginning May 6, according to an article in the
May 5 Washington Post.

Among the issues Shelby wants to raise, according to the article, are
U.S. tolerance of Iranian arms shipments to Bosnia during the conflict
there, intelligence operations in Haiti and alleged efforts by
Democratic Party officials to prod the CIA into supporting a meeting
between President Clinton and a controversial campaign contributor.

Kerrey said he wants to raise the issue of the future of clandestine
intelligence operations, especially in light of a number of
investigations by the agency's inspector general into possible links
between CIA officers and alleged human rights abuses in Central
America during the 1980s.

Most of these issues were raised during earlier hearings on the
nomination of former National Security Adviser Anthony Lake to be CIA
chief. When Lake subsequently asked President Clinton to withdraw his
nomination, Clinton proposed Tenet for the post.

The 44-year-old Tenet, who has been Deputy Director of the CIA since
mid-1995, was the Senate Intelligence Committee's chief of staff
before he left that position to handle intelligence issues at the
National Security Council staff under Lake.

Shelby has not questioned Tenet's qualifications for the CIA post. But
he told interviewers the agency's Director must be "someone of
unimpeachable integrity with management skills and who will be in the
loop and not out of the loop."

Both he and Kerrey said a key question they would raise with Tenet is
whether, as Shelby put it, he was "strong and independent enough to
tell the President the unvarnished news that he knows the President
does not want to hear." Kerrey said he wants to know how Tenet "will
assess threats and report them," especially those that contradict
statements by the administration or Congress. Kerrey said he also
wants to know how Tenet will develop and analyze "all-source
intelligence reporting," using data from all of the government's 12
separate intelligence gathering agencies as well as from open sources
to come up with an analysis that combines all the available
information on an issue.

Kerrey also said one of his first questions to Tenet will be: "How do
you operate a clandestine service and not conflict with democratic
values?" Shelby added that he might ask Tenet "how far should CIA be
willing to go to seek to counter" allegations of past involvement in
human rights abuses or criminal activities while recruiting agents to
counter terrorism, drug operations and proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction.