The Scotsman (UK) reported early Saturday that the sudden unexpected resignation of Peter Goss, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has left George W. Bush "looking shaken" and seems to portend future scandals, perhaps related to a developing Washington sex and corruption scandal that has already landed San Diego Republican congressman Duke Cunningham in jail for taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and is threatening other contractors involved with what the reporter Alex Massie called "regular parties at 'hospitality suites' in luxury Washington hotels at which prostitutes were allegedly provided for the entertainment of guests, including Cunningham. The FBI is interviewing Washington 'escorts' and searching room records from some of the city's most prestigious hotels." -- Porter Goss has denied attending the parties, but appointed Dusty Foggo, a childhood friend of one of the defense contractors under investigation, to the number-three position at the CIA, Alex Massie of the Scotsman said. -- AFP reviewed the CIA's recent history, finding it ironic that though the agency is supposed to be secretive, "everyone seems to know about its internal turmoil." -- In an anlysis of Goss's tenure at the CIA, Martin Sieff of UPI called him a failure: "Goss leaves office with no striking intelligence achievements to his credit, the most remarked upon structural and cultural problems within the CIA still crippling its effectiveness, and a senior staff far more demoralized and stripped of influence than when he arrived. . . . He proved a very weak administrator at the CIA and rapidly alienated many senior staffers." -- According to Sieff, Goss's answers in a September Q&A session with CIA employees, reported by Newsweek, in which he responded to concerns about resignations by saying "I don't do personnel," gravely affected his ability to lead: "'That answer killed him. It destroyed his credibility,' a source with close agency ties told UPI Friday. 'What else is there for a CIA chief to do?'" -- In a separate piece, Sieff reported that two women are leading candidates to replace Porter Goss as head of an organization that has been both a law unto itself and, from an historical point of view, a constitutive agency of the U.S. national security state: Mary Margaret Graham, deputy to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and a 28-year veteran of the CIA, and Fran Townsend, currently Bush's advisor on homeland security. ...
RESIGNATION OF CIA CHIEF SPARKS TALK OF SCANDAL
By Alex Massie
May 6, 2006
Porter Goss, the man handpicked by George Bush, the president of the United States, to reform and revitalize the CIA, resigned yesterday afternoon.
No reason was given for Mr Goss quitting after less than 18 months and the announcement that he was stepping down took Washington by surprise.
It is a fresh crisis for an administration that has not had its troubles to seek since Mr. Bush won his second term in 2004. It has also prompted speculation that Mr. Goss's resignation portends revelations that might embarrass the White House, with his name being spoken of in connection with a corruption scandal that has seen a congressman jailed.
Mr. Goss was charged with re-energizing the CIA after the debacles of its inability to anticipate or prevent the 11 September, 2001, terrorist attacks and its erroneous pre-war estimates of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "I would like to report to you that the agency is back on a very even keel and sailing well," Mr Goss told the president yesterday.
Mr. Bush, who looked shaken, said: "Porter's helped this agency become integrated into the intelligence community. That was a tough job. He's led ably."
Mr. Goss's reforms of the CIA proved controversial, however, as political appointees replaced long-serving agency personnel in key positions and morale remains low. Some former CIA officers were relieved that Mr. Goss had resigned. "Thank God," one former spy said. "It's gotten so bad there, it's just a charade; there's no senior leadership."
Officially, the Bush administration suggested that, having implemented difficult reforms, Mr. Goss might not have been the best man to take the agency forward. The White House indicated that Mr. Goss had reached a "mutual understanding" with Mr. Bush and John Negroponte, the National Intelligence Director responsible for co-ordinating the intelligence activities of over a dozen federal agencies.
That explanation was greeted with scepticism, however. Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman, said: "I think there's going to be more coming out.
"This is a devastating blow, the importance of which really cannot be overestimated. It indicates again a continuing downward slide in the intelligence capabilities of our government; it indicates again the disorganization on the part of our intelligence agencies at a time when we can ill afford to see that happen."
Bill Kristol, the editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard, said: "I don't believe George Bush wanted to make this change. I do not believe this was planned by Porter Goss or expected by the White House. I think it will not be good for the White House."
In recent weeks Mr. Goss and some of his closest associates have been pulled ever closer to an FBI investigation into a corruption scandal that resulted in the Republican congressman Duke Cunningham being jailed for eight years for taking $2.4 million (£1.3 million) in bribes from defense contractors. One contractor, Mitchell Wade, has pled guilty to multiple felonies. Another, Brent Wilkes remains under investigation.
Mr. Wilkes, whose firms have received more than $95 million in government contracts, threw regular parties at "hospitality suites" in luxury Washington hotels at which prostitutes were allegedly provided for the entertainment of guests, including Cunningham. The FBI is interviewing Washington "escorts" and searching room records from some of the city's most prestigious hotels.
Among those who attended the parties was Dusty Foggo, a childhood friend of Mr. Wilkes, who was appointed executive director of the CIA -- the third most senior position -- by Mr. Goss. Mr. Foggo has admitted attending Mr. Wilkes's parties, but denies seeing prostitutes there. Mr. Goss has denied attending the parties, but Mr. Foggo's relationship with Mr. Wilkes and his potential implication in the improper allocation of CIA contracts potentially casts doubt upon Mr. Goss's judgment.
CIA TURMOIL IS AN OPEN SECRET
May 6, 2006
The CIA is meant to keep its cloak and dagger activities behind closed doors, but everyone seems to know about its internal turmoil, which has worsened with the departure of its director Porter Goss.
The world's biggest spy agency was hauled across the coals by Congress for its failure to detect the plot behind the horrific September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
It was also blamed for the faulty weapons of mass destruction intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Following recommendations made by the official September 11 inquiry, Goss took over in September 2004 with the mission of recruiting more and better spies abroad, and making sure their information gets the treatment it deserves at home.
Goss replaced George Tenet, who had resigned earlier that year under the shadow of the agency's intelligence failures.
In February 2005 President George W. Bush dealt a new blow to CIA prestige when he named veteran diplomat John Negroponte as director of national intelligence, in charge of all spy agencies including the CIA.
Goss, a former CIA agent who became a Republican powerbroker in Congress, upset the U.S. spy establishment when he named some of his Congress associates to top jobs at the agency and used strongarm tactics to set reforms underway.
Deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, who had been interim director while waiting for Goss to arrive, quit in November 2004.
The deputy director in charge of foreign operations, Stephen Kappes, and several other senior clandestine service officers also left in the months after Goss arrived.
"He came in at a difficult moment, and I think got off to a rocky start," McLaughlin told CNN television on Friday.
"Porter Goss came in at a time when the challenges were particularly difficult, hard to overcome, and when the agency was struggling to regain its balance and the traditional elan than it has had over the years," he said.
This year Goss tried to clampdown on leaks from within the organization.
Investigations were started following press reports about secret CIA prisons in various parts of the world and that Bush had authorized the monitoring of U.S. residents without the warrant that is normally required. Both set off political storms for the White House.
Media reports said that lie detectors were used on CIA officials to find out who was the source of the leaks. Goss publicly expressed his anger, saying that the leaks threatened U.S. security.
In a rare move, the agency in April fired a senior female analyst, Mary McCarthy, who was accused of divulging classified information to journalists. McCarthy, who earlier worked for the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, was a few months short of retiring.
She denied giving away information about the secret prisons or wiretaps, but admitted she had spoken to journalists without getting permission from a superior.
More recently, the CIA has been under an ethics cloud after its number three official, executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, became the subject of a CIA Inspector General investigation over contracts that he supervised.
Goss's resignation Friday came as a surprise and no reason was given for it.
But opposition Democrats seized upon the resignation to step up their campaign against the Republican White House.
"I am very worried about America's intelligence community, particularly the CIA," said Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate intelligence committee.
"The Agency has experienced enormous turmoil at top levels during Porter Gosss tenure. What was hoped to be an appointment of reform turned out to be one of missed opportunities."
She said his replacement "must be able to gain the respect of intelligence professionals and manage them in this era of asymmetric threat."
HOW GOSS FAILED AT CIA
By Martin Sieff
United Press International
May 6, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC -- J. Porter Goss took over the CIA, confident he had all the answers. He did. The problem was they weren`t the answers to the questions he had to deal with.
Porter`s shock resignation Friday took Washington by surprise. He had served for little more than a year head of the nation`s main intelligence-gathering organization.
President George W. Bush announced Goss`s resignation with the outgoing CIA chief sitting beside him in the Oval Office. 'He has led ably,' the president said. 'He has a five-year plan to increase the analysts and operatives.'
Bush also praised Goss for helping to 'make this country a safer place.' And Goss, a former veteran Republican congressman from Florida and long-time Bush loyalist, was also upbeat and on-message. 'I would like to report to you that the agency (CIA) is back on a very even keel and sailing well,' he said.
But no amount of spin could disguise the fact that Goss was the latest casualty of new White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten's ambitious plan shake up and revitalize an administration hammered by $70 a barrel plus oil prices, rising casualties and violence in Iraq, and tumbling opinion poll ratings.
Goss`s resignation was announced the same day that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan gave his last press briefing. He is being replaced by veteran Fox News commentator Tony Snow. And even Karl Rove, the president`s chief political strategist has given up the hands-on detailed control of administration policy he had enjoyed since the beginning of the president`s second term of office.
Goss had the vision of transforming the CIA into a lean, mean intel machine that would focus on the war on terror, put thousands more human agents into the field and provide the U.S. armed forces, especially the Army and Marine forces fighting the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, with real-time intelligence that could be of far greater operational use to them.
Goss had a background serving in the CIA back in the 1960s, and he had long been regarded on Capitol Hill as one of the most knowledgeable and respected figures in Congress in dealing with intelligence issues. He also enjoyed the president`s full confidence. And expectations were high when he got the job. Unlike so many of his predecessors, he was given a literal blank check in terms of funding and resources by a sympathetic, ask-no-questions GOP majority in Congress. He pushed through an ambitious five year plan that -- on paper -- will transform the agency.
However, Goss leaves office with no striking intelligence achievements to his credit, the most remarked upon structural and cultural problems within the CIA still crippling its effectiveness, and a senior staff far more demoralized and stripped of influence than when he arrived.
Despite his long experience in Congress, Goss had never had any serious management experience in government or out of it. He proved a very weak administrator at the CIA and rapidly alienated many senior staffers. He was confident from his own service in the agency that he knew street-smart details of operational realities, but his own espionage experience was three and a half decades ago at the height of the Cold War.
His arrival and early heavy hand set off so much personal and political feuding at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, that agency insiders told reporters was turning the venerable, globe-spanning institution into a soap opera.
Goss tried to ride above the turmoil. Newsweek magazine reported that in a private question-and-answer session with agency employees on Sept. 22, 2005, Goss was asked why veteran agency officers were resigning in numbers unprecedented for since the Carter administration. He replied, 'I don`t do personnel.'
The answer was reminiscent of the high-handed, confident, publicly abrasive way Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has repeatedly shrugged off criticism of his conduct of the Iraq war. But Goss did not prove as fortunate as Rumsfeld.
'That answer killed him. It destroyed his credibility,' a source with close agency ties told UPI Friday. 'What else is there for a CIA chief to do? The job is all about choosing the right personnel and evaluating them accurately.'
Goss also had an adversarial relationship with the media, despite the greatly increased sense of national responsibility that pervaded the nation, including the media following the mega-terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Goss purged senior managers from the agency but he did not appear to have a firm grasp on veteran senior staff and their intelligence assets. Critics charged him with relying too much on his old inner circle of congressional staffers. In his Sept. 22 question-and-answer session, Newsweek reported, Goss was asked why he had brought to Langley with him a former congressional staffer who, as a junior CIA officer, once got into trouble for shoplifting. He replied that everyone made mistakes. Senior staff compared that answer with Goss`s relentless criticisms of their own more impressive careers and were not impressed, agency insiders told UPI.
Goss clashed with senior officials in the agency`s Directorate of Operations. His supporters told the press and sympathetic lawmakers in Congress that the officials had been opposing Goss's reform efforts. But in the private world of the U.S. intelligence community, this reaction was widely seen as irresponsible, and as a lack of loyalty by Goss towards the troops he led.
Goss could not even retain the confidence of senior staff he had promoted himself. He made Robert Richer deputy director of operations. Richer resigned less than a year later and later informed the Senate Select Committee on intelligence that he had told Goss to his face in a private meeting on Sept. 22, 2005, that the CIA director was out of touch with his own agency.
More veteran Middle East officers resigned before their retirement or career stints required during Goss`s brief tenure than under any previous CIA director since Adm. Stansfield Turner, who held the job for President Jimmy Carter.
WOMEN MAY REPLACE GOSS AT CIA
By Martin Sieff
United Press International
May 6, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC -- J. Porter Goss's resignation as CIA director may open the way for increased cooperation between the agency and other elements of the U.S. intelligence community, intelligence insiders have told UPI.
The sources said that one of the frontrunners to succeed Goss, who resigned Friday, [is] Mary Margaret Graham, the widely respected deputy to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. Graham is a 28-year veteran of the CIA who currently serves as deputy director of national intelligence for collection. She has the extensive leadership and management experience within the agency that Goss lacked and is widely respected within the agency.
If Graham gets the job, she is likely to give far greater priority to cooperating with Negroponte in his efforts to break down institutional barriers to operational cooperation and intelligence-sharing within the enormous, but sprawling and historically poorly coordinated U.S. intelligence community, the sources said.
Another front-running candidate to succeed Goss, the sources said, was Fran Townsend, currently President George W. Bush's advisor on homeland security. Ms. Townsend was previously deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.
Both Graham and Townsend are given high marks for their management skills and ability to work well with their colleagues -- two key areas where Goss was widely criticized for dropping the ball. Either of them would be the first female head of the CIA in its almost 60 year history. Whoever gets the high-pressure and controversial post, they will inherit an agency with many secret successes to its credit over the past four and a half years in the war on terrorism.
The agency also now enjoys a boost in its budgets and resources unprecedented since the hey-day of the Cold War.
But the next CIA director will also inherit an agency [that] is still struggling to effectively penetrate the Sunni insurgency in Iraq and that, some critics say, is paying too little attention increasingly militant network of Shiite militias across southern Iraq.
CIA morale has been reeling despite increased budgets over the past year for two reasons. The first was Goss's abrasive, hands-on management style that alienated many veteran senior staffers and drove many of them out of the service.
The second was the reorganization of the U.S. national security services that took the key position of 'vicar' or senior coordinator of all the U.S. intelligence agencies away from the CIA director for the first time in its history. That position went to former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte.
Negroponte has been struggling to streamline cooperation between the different agencies in the U.S. intelligence community. Intelligence insiders give him high marks for his efforts but say they have been slowed down by the determination of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, backed by Vice President Dick Cheney, to keep resources and information from the Pentagon`s various intelligence organizations primarily under their control.
The failure of al-Qaida and other extreme Islamist groups so far to [be] able to repeat their success in the terror atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001 is the most striking evidence that the CIA has in fact been doing far better in its secret war to defend the American people than its many detractors on both right and left give it credit for.
Cooperation between the CIA and the FBI in particular is said to be far better than it was before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and before the USA Patriot Act removed many of the institutional barriers that made crucial intelligence sharing between America`s chief domestic and international security and intelligence agencies almost impossible.
But the agency is said still to have along way to go in recruiting the Arabic and Farsi-speaking field officers and analysts, and the additional number of web-savvy open-source analysts it still badly needs to keep on top of global threats and challenges to the United States and the American people.