Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Porter Goss is too partisan to serve as CIA director.

Why you’re right:

1. Goss attacked John Kerry on the House floor. Holding up a sign with a quote by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, Goss accused Kerry and his Democratic colleagues of weakening the American intelligence infrastructure and causing its problems. He said, “That [the quote featured on the sign] was in May of 1997 from the record. I got books full of that stuff. There is no doubt where the record is. The Democratic party did not support the intelligence community.” Unless he plans on serving a five-month term, Goss must entertain the possibility that he might work for John Kerry come January. (Congressional Record)

2. Goss co-authored an anti-Kerry op-ed featured on GOP.com. The piece, which ran originally in the Tampa Tribune, is entitled “Need intelligence? Don’t ask John Kerry.” In it, he wrote, “Especially in the early Clinton years, the cuts [to CIA funding] were deep, far-reaching and devastating to the ability of the CIA to keep America safe …Where was the junior senator from Massachusetts? Serving as a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee … Did he fight the cuts in intelligence spending or the restraints on U.S. intelligence operatives? Far from it. In fact, he was leading the way to make deep and devastating cuts.” (Tampa Tribune)

3. Goss consistently opposes investigations that would expose Bush administration failings. As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Goss led party line votes to oppose the investigations into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and into U.S. dealings with Ahmed Chalabi. When confronted with his opposition to the investigation of the Valerie Plame leak, Goss responded, “Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation'" (Congressional Quarterly, 6/17/04, Herald Tribune)

Why they’re wrong:

Despite Goss’ long time friendship with Florida senator Bob Graham and some bipartisan environmental policymaking, his record on intelligence issues has been an extreme and vocal version of the Republican party line. This record over the long term, combined with his recent efforts against John Kerry’s campaign, ought to disqualify him from serving in a position that demands the trust and respect of lawmakers and Americans of both parties.

A better idea:

President Bush should wait to fill the position of Director of Central Intelligence until it is more clear what that position will entail, at which time he should appoint someone who can be trusted to implement intelligence reform in an evenhanded fashion.