MATTHEWS: . So why did we go to war? What was the motive here?
TENET: Well, Chris, there were many. You would have to talk to everybody...
MATTHEWS: OK. Let's start with...
TENET: So let's start...
MATTHEWS: Let's start with these people you mention in the book.
Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, these guys were for this war because they had signed that Project for the New American Century document in the ‘90s.
TENET: Chris, let's put this in different buckets, OK? There are some people who believe this was unfinished business. There were some people who believed we needed to change the face of the Middle East.
TENET: Chris, our intelligence was wrong. I have to-we have to take that responsibility. On the nuclear question, what our National Intelligence Estimate said, five to seven years. If a terrorist group provided them fissile material, he could have it within a year.
MATTHEWS: A couple of questions. We know that there are certain ideologues in this administration in great positions. Paul Wolfowitz argued with me for three-and-a-half hours one day at lunch about this war.
We know Doug Feith was a hawk. We know Perle, of course, was a hawk because he went to you and said, let's go to Iraq, right afterwards.
Scooter Libby had a lot of influence, he was for the war. We know a lot of people ideologically around this town who weren't in government before this war.
What moved the president? Why did President George W. Bush-who said when he came into office, I want humility in foreign policy, what led him to take the American Army into Arabia and place it there where it is right now?
TENET: The president has-you know, you will have to ultimately talk to...
MATTHEWS: But you are close to the president.
TENET: Well, I think he was moved about what we said about WMD. I think he-now, whether he went farther on these other issues, he didn't want to be surprised again...
MATTHEWS: Did he take-was he getting surprised-was he getting channels of intel from people at the Defense Department like Feith.
Were they feeding him stuff behind your back that led him more into this war than you would have done then?
TENET: Chris, the only...
MATTHEWS: Were they...
TENET: Chris, the instant...
MATTHEWS: ... stove-piping?
TENET: Chris, I was the Director of Central Intelligence. I saw the President of the United States every day. I believed that what I was telling him represented the view of the American intelligence...
MATTHEWS: Was it all that he was getting?
TENET: Well, I can't say that. I don't know. You know, people say to me, well, didn't you know people were running around you? Well, I didn't see it.
MATTHEWS: They had that special unit at the Defense Department, I mean, which was working against you.
TENET: Well, Chris, I know that the president understood what we were saying. I know that he understood where we were exactly on these issues. I can't speak for him.
TENET: ‘02. My personal view was is that we were going to war.
Now did the president tell me that? No. But my instinct was...
MATTHEWS: Why did everybody-why did-I'm sitting on the outside looking at this administration. I thought we were headed towards war starting in December of 2001 when I would hear from people about meetings at Camp David where Wolfowitz was yelling at the president, we have got to go to Iraq right off the bat. And you know about that. Right off the bat they were pushing for war.
MATTHEWS: Whose brilliant idea it was to de-Ba'athicize (ph), to tell the entire government of Iraq, We want you gone, we want the army gone, we're going to disassemble you, go away, don't come back, we're going to rebuild this country from the ground up? Whose idea was that?
TENET: I don't know whose idea it was, Chris. I do know this-I do know this: the de-Ba'athification and disbanding of the army was never something principals sat around and made a decision on. I know that.
MATTHEWS: Well, who decided it? Doug Feith, at the Defense Department? Who made these calls?