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CIA director resigns
June 03, 2004 20:23 IST
Last Updated: June 03, 2004 21:29 IST
The chief of America's Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, tendered his resignation citing personal reasons. Tenet has been at the head of the CIA since 1997.
Tenet would step down mid-July.
At a hurriedly called news conference, President George W Bush said he had accepted Tenet's resignation and asked his deputy John McLaughlin to temporarily lead the spy agency.
Bush said Tenet informed him about the resignation on Wednesday. "I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people," he said.
According to informed sources, Bush is unlikely to name a new director till after election to avoid contentious hearings in the Congress.
He had sat behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the United Nations Security Council when he sought to make a strong case for attacking Iraq to send a message that CIA fully backed Powell who spoke about mobile laboratories for making weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
But no such labs were found, showing the Bush administration in very poor light.
He was also criticized for the CIA's failure to foresee the Indian nuclear tests in 1998. Later in September 2001, the US suffered its biggest terrorist attack on home soil when planes slammed into the World Trade Centre twin towers in New York.
Despite all this, Tenet had managed to keep his job.