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George Tenet gets a book deal — yet again

For those keeping score, way back in December 2004, former CIA director George Tenet signed a book deal with Rick Horgan at Crown for a reported $4 million dollars (NY Post dollars, one reckons) that would be a “candid discussion of working for two administrations” and his life in the CIA. Then in March 2005, the deal was cancelled as Tenet decided that he needed “more time to both do the extensive research and to gain the necessary perspective.”

Well, guess he got plenty of it, because the book deal’s back on — but not with Crown. HarperCollins issued a press release yesterday trumpeting their new pickup. The deal was brokered between Tenet’s attorney, Bob Barnett, and Harper VP Jonathan Burnham. But interestingly, the book will be co-edited by David Hirshey and Kathy Huck-Seymour.

Why should the latter’s name ring a bell? Because Huck-Seymour also edited a bunch of Do-it-yourself repair books by Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet, both of whom happen to be “CIA spouses” — and the latter, of course, is married to George.

And as it turns out, that spousal connection played a part in why Tenet’s book will be co-edited, as David Hirshey explained this morning by email. Since Huck-Seymour’s prior work with Glakas-Tenet at the Collins imprint meant she had a “close rapport with the family” and Hirshey has a well-documented background editing non-fiction (including Seymour Hersh’s CHAIN OF COMMAND) he added that “rather than asking Tenet to choose between two editors, the publisher Jonathan Burnham decided we should double team George.” It remains to be seen how the duties will be divided, but such decisions will be made as the editing process begins.

Hirshey also says that contrary to reports, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow will not be co-authoring the book. Instead, “the priority is to find a co-writer that George is comfortable with and we are in the process of interviewing a half-dozen candidates.”

As to whether Crown was interested (or even had a shot) at obtaining the rights to the book once more, Horgan said this in email late yesterday: “After George initially decided he wanted more time to write the book we amicably parted ways. He was always great in his dealings with us, and we wish him luck.”

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