Monday, November 15, 2004

Porter Goss is making a bad situation worse at the CIA.

Why you're right:

1. Goss is dividing, not uniting, the CIA staff. Bush has continually promised to unite the nation, but his August appointment of Goss to the top spot at the CIA has divided the CIA. Goss put three of his Republican staffers to top CIA positions. These men are viewed as inexperienced and contemptuous of the career employees in the CIA, causing intra-agency turmoil and disagreement at a time when cooperation is needed for reform. (Knight-Ridder)

2. Goss is driving away experienced CIA members. Deputy Director John E. McLaughlin recently sent in his long-expected resignation, but warned Goss about alienating members of the agency. Stephen R. Kappes, chief of the clandestine service and behind the negotiations with Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi to give up weapons of mass destruction, is considering submitting his resignation after the latest in a series of clashes with Goss, saying he would rather resign than fire his deputy, Michael Sulick. Kappes was ordered to fire Sulick for challenging Pat Murray’s, Goss’s chief of staff and a former Hill staffer, authority. (Washington Post)

3. Goss is rejecting the advice of CIA leadership. Four former deputies of operations, from both Republican and Democratic administrations, requested a meeting with Goss because they "wanted to save him from going through" what two other directors, Stansfield Turner and John M. Deutch, had experienced when they tried to make personnel changes quickly. Goss has refused to meet with them. (Washington Post)

Why they’re wrong:

The intelligence community needs reform, but more than just personnel shake-up. Goss’s attempts at a quick fix are alienating members of the agency who are essential to moving forward. The agency needs to learn from its past mistakes, as the 9/11 commission pointed out, and rejecting advice from bipartisan veterans won’t help.