Jeffrey LewisTenet Memoir A Little Hazy

So, I am reading my copy of George Tenet’s At the Center of the Storm.

I turn to the account of the strike on Dora Farm first. Tenet offers the standard account—embellished by an odd new detail here, an occasional defense of his own role there—when Tenet says that “targets were being passed to B-2s …”

Wait a minute.

Then a couple of sentences later, “a number of bombs from the B-2s …”

The strike at Dora Farm—according to every other source including Plan of Attack, Cobra II, The Iraq War, and American Soldier—was conducted with F-117s.

Adam Hebert in Air Force Magazine profiled the strike and the pilots— Lt. Col. David F. Toomey III and Maj. Mark J. Hoehn—complete with pictures of the planes landing after the mission.

The F-117 isn’t just a passing detail, either, in most accounts. Air Force personnel had developed a novel way to drop a pair of bunker busters from a single plane, had already loaded one aircraft when the intelligence came in, dramatically reduced mission planning time and executed a very daring strike. The Air Force performed superbly, and in all the accounts of that performance the aircraft were F-117s.

So, I guess what I am saying is, this looks an awful lot like a careless error in a book that is supposed to form the basis of Tenet’s defense of himself.

Not a good start.

I guess I am just feeling defensive of the F-117 because I’ve been reading Ben Rich’s memoir, Skunk Works, about the development of the stealth fighter.


  1. BJR

    Skunk Works is a great book. Ben Rich – like his mentor Kelly Johnson – is a god. Are we going to see more wonky aircraft posts on ACW?

  2. thermopile

    Skunk Works is a speactular story about true program management, from the bottom up. Enjoy the read.

    And, the glossing over of details is probably indicative of the Tenet leadership in general, if the reports and nasty letters are to be believed.

  3. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I don’t know enough about aircraft to make regular posts, sadly.

    So, you know Kelly Johnson is famous, of course, for the P-38 Lightning. Readers might not know this but Ben Rusek—staffer for the National Academies Committee on International Security and Arms Control and friend of wonk—volunteered on the restoration of the Lightning at the Smithsonian.

    You should ask him about it the next time we are all out carousing.

  4. Vicenzo (History)

    To utilize a barb you often employ, Tenet is the king of Superhacks – as far as I know he never spent a day collecting or analyzing intel before getting the Agency nod. Just another Hill staffer who puckered up when it was needed. Hence his inability to distinguish between an F-117 and a B-2—aircraft that while both stealthy are quite different in profile.

  5. Binh (History)

    Tenet should set up a website for himself like Doug Feith.