May 5, 2006

The Porter Gloss

Hatched by Dafydd

Obviously, the big news today is the unexpected resignation of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Porter Goss, coupled with the refusal of either the president or Goss to explain why he is leaving. The "buzz" all over D.C. -- which I think has it completely backwards -- is that National Intelligence Director John Negroponte canned Goss because Goss was ruffling too many feathers at the Agency:

[Goss] had particularly poor relations with segments of the agency's powerful clandestine service. In a bleak assessment, California Rep. Jane Harman, the Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, recently said, "The CIA is in a free fall," noting that employees with a combined 300 years of experience have left or been pushed out....

Goss has pressed for aggressive probes about leaked information.

"The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission," he told Congress in February, adding that a federal grand jury should be impaneled to determine "who is leaking this information."

Just two weeks ago, Goss announced the firing of a top intelligence analyst in connection with a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about a network of CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. Such dismissals are highly unusual.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., said Goss' resignation was good news. "His management style has been wrecking the country's most important intelligence agency," Obey said. "I hope that whoever is selected to take his place will rebuild agency morale and competence."

I suppose it's inevitable, but Big Lizards is convinced that precisely the opposite is true: Goss was fired because he was not aggressive enough in ferreting out the leakers. We've known George W. Bush for five years now; and the one thing that is clear is that when he decides something is important for the country -- such as the Iraq war -- he never lets go of it; he hangs on like a bulldog to a beefbone.

Bush has clearly decided that the conspiracy culture within the Agency, the Bush Derangement Syndrome, has gone so far that it now endangers national security. Goss was brought aboard in the first place by President Bush in 2004 in order to plug those leaks by any means necessary.

I suspect the leak about the CIA "secret prisons" (whether they even existed or whether the intel was a canary trap) was the last straw: true or false, it showed such a flagrant and egregious unconcern for the safety and the diplomatic relations of the United States of America that the persons responsible are tantamount to traitors -- morally, if not legally. The Agency is utterly out of control. It's true, as Gen. McCaffrey noted, that the CIA is at war: but it's more at war with Bush than it is with bin Laden.

There is a whole cadre within the CIA that persists in thinking of it as "the Company," persists in seeing its purpose as playing the Great Cold-War Game, rather than providing wartime intel for destroying America's enemies. I will begin calling this faction le Groupe de la Révolution du Dixième Septembre, or GRS-10e. And I think Porter Goss was actually ousted because he was not making headway fast enough against them.

Bush typically wants the people he is firing -- assuming they've tried their best but just not been good enough -- to go out with a victory, no matter how minor, under their belts; it's a private-sector business practice, so they can plausibly claim they were not fired for incompetence. I suspect Bush, Negroponte, Goss, and other concerned officials probably discussed the departure of Goss some time ago; but since they knew he was closing in on Mary O. McCarthy -- two weeks and still no personal proclamation of innocence from St. Mary of Langley -- they decided to let him nab her first, and then resign.

Both Jane Harman and "Democrat Dave" Obey have been pretty good, but not great, anent the war on terror; but neither has been particularly heartbroken to see the CIA, the NSA, and other clandestine agencies leaking, leaking, leaking damaging information to wreck Bush's warfighting agenda.

I would call Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a "September 10.5-ist." She's not as bad as the GRS-10e; she knows something momentous happened the next day; but she's not yet willing to admit it was paradigm shattering.

When the House Intelligence Committee decided, in November, 2005, to investigate the persistent leaks from clandestine agencies, Harman urged instead that they return to work on the pre-OIF intelligence, which was obviously far more helpful to Democratic electoral chances a year later:

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., called for a congressional investigation into the disclosure of the existence of CIA secret prisons in a Nov. 2 story in The Washington Post. The story said they were located in eight countries, including democracies in Eastern Europe.

In a letter, the GOP leaders said leaking of classified information by employees of the government appeared to have increased in recent years, "establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen."

On Tuesday, California Rep. Jane Harman, the House intelligence panel's senior Democrat, urged the panel to return to its work on the prewar intelligence on Iraq — a request that mirrored the efforts of Democratic senators to draw attention to the administration's mistakes on the war.

"The point of it is to understand fully how we collected, analyzed and presented intelligence ... and what responsibility the intelligence community had to correct misinformation by policymakers," Harman said in an interview.

I believe both Harman and Obey are going to be disappointed

And I likewise think that Frank Gaffney and Jed Babbin are going to be pleasantly startled, based on what they just said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show: whoever replaces Goss is going to be more vigorous, not less, about obliterating the GRS-10e, root and branch.

I do not join Gaffney and Babbin in believing that John Negroponte is on the side of the leakers, or that Bush would allow him to fire Goss (brought in personally by Bush) without the president's support. Nobody except the most moonbatty Bush haters has ever accused Bush of handing off power to his subordinates.

I'm sure they're correct that there was a power struggle; but Bush has never minded that in the past... recall the Rumsfeld vs. Powell steel-cage death match. I strongly doubt that Bush would have allowed the NID to fire the DCIA unless the president personally agreed that Goss should go.

Nor do I believe, as Babbin, Gaffney, Harman, and Obey all think, that Goss is going to be replaced by a meek staffer who can be easily confirmed and won't rock the boat. I think that's absurd. If that's how Bush operated, crawling to Congress to save his administration, then he would have fired Donald Rumsfeld, which would have thrilled the House and Senate (though it would have neutered his second term).

Let's see who is appointed, and more important, whether the leak investigations continue and accelerate. To paraphrase Maggie Thatcher's famous warning to Ronald Reagan (who needed no such warning), now is not the time to go "wobbly" on President Bush. [Commenter Mike corrects my faulty memory: Thatcher said that to George H. W. Bush... who did need such warning! -- the Mgt.]

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 5, 2006, at the time of 3:40 PM

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» Goss Abruptly Quits, Leaves Questions Behind from Captain's Quarters
After only twenty months on the job, Porter Goss has resigned as head of the CIA, which at one time he considered the pinnacle of his career. What would make this longtime Congressional representative and one-time agency operative suddenly leave... [Read More]

Tracked on May 5, 2006 6:36 PM

» The Goss Resignation from Flopping Aces
The other big news of the day was the resignation of Porter Goss: CIA chief Porter Goss resigned Friday to the surprise of many in Washington, although some sources say there have been rumblings of Goss’ departure and that his move is just anothe... [Read More]

Tracked on May 5, 2006 8:09 PM

» BREAKING: Porter Goss resigns as DCI from Hot Air
Bombshell. Update: Time magazine says Bush is likely to name Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden as Goss’s successor on Monday. Update: Anonymous sources tell CBS News that Goss did not resign, he was forced out. ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 5, 2006 9:00 PM


The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

I hope you're right about what type of replacement we'll see. I've linked from Porter Goss resigns as DCI.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 5, 2006 4:58 PM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

"Bush has clearly decided that the conspiracy culture within the Agency, the Bush Derangement Syndrome, has gone so far that it now endangers national security. Goss was brought aboard in the first place by President Bush in 2004 in order to plug those leaks by any means necessary."

Man, I hope you're right. The staggeringly incompetant career folks at CIA think they make their own law, and if Bush can clean the place up it'll be his greatest accomplishment.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 5, 2006 7:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Kathy K

I hope you are right about Porter's successor. But I'd just like to note that I don't think he was pushed out of the job.

Let's just say he's local from my viewpoint - and there are reasons why I was doubtful as to whether he'd take the job at all. I just couldn't think of anyone better - and I don't think he could either, at the time, and felt it was his duty. I hope he's found someone since...

The above hissed in response by: Kathy K [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 5, 2006 8:55 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mike

Minor correction: Margaret Thatcher said "Don't go Wobbly" to George H.W. Bush in the first Gulf War:

Interesting speculation that Goss was forced out. There is certainly something in the sudden nature of this announcement. Or could it be just another step in the Bolton shakeup?

I doubt Goss was too happy about doing all the dirty work at CIA only to have Negroponte outrank him.

Also, while I would like to believe the replacement for Goss would continue tearing out the insurgency at CIA root and branch, I wonder if anyone nominated with that idea in mind can be confirmed.

I would hate to see just another "let's all get along" smiley face take over CIA and allow the problems there to go unresolved.

But things are so tense with the 2006 elections coming up that a real knock down drag out confirmation fight is probably not something that looks appealing to George Bush, who has typically sought to appease his congressional critics.

The above hissed in response by: Mike [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 5, 2006 9:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: Johnny Yuma

George W two weeks ago said " ... get ready. It's going to be a rough summer ... " Most folks assumed he meant gasoilne prices.

If Hayden is nominated and confirmed, here's another look at the thing ... Hayden created and operated the surveillance program that targeted Signals originating with our enemies that terminated in the USA, and targeted Signals that originated in the USA that terminated with our enemies. As GW said, " ... if our enemies are calling, it's reasonable that we know who they're calling ..."

Hayden is NSA. He's The Man Who Knows who was on either end of those Signals (and I am certain we're talking about far more than simple bla bla bla phone calls, as in coded bursts, encrypted bank numbers, all sorts of Intel and media management embedded in cyptograms, etc.)

Hayden Knows. Think about that. The Man Who Knows now moves over to the basecamp of the Rogue Weasels.

Think that doesn't put a knot in somebody's shorts??

Maybe Patrick Kennedy found out about 3am one night recently that The Man Who Knows is headed over to Propaganda Central and will be dropping the hammer of God on our nation's internal enemies???

Point being that The Man Who Knows and who is NSA rather than CIA, is coming to dinner. How many guests might he have tried for Treason, how far do the spider cracks splinter outwards? How many mid management cutouts will be willing to rollover on the Big Dogs? And which Big Dog is sweating the most???

That ought to be easy to analyze by who shouts the longest and loudest very shortly. Because when you have nothing but John Thomas in your hand, asll you've got for ammo is to poison the well of public opinion by the heat and noise you can generate with a compliant press.

Next up, is that simultaneous to this (I hear) is Iran's decision to settle oil contracts in Euros. And to sell China oil originally destined for Western markets. China will have to trade their dollars for Euros, depressing the dollar just as oil supplies this summer become precariously slim. Coincidence? You betcha. Just ahead of the Big Fight for the mid term elections where impeaching GW is the #1 agenda? You betcha. At the same time as the noose is closing in on the Real Enemies Who Are Domestic???

You betcha.

Go to the gun range and practice up. The probability of exposure and revelation is how the Greatest Crimes begin, the cover-up as we know from the Clinton Death List. Except this time, we're facing the possibility of real exposure and real revelation and real ball busting knock down hammer of God stuff upon which the remnants of the Republic hang.

They won't go easy. In fact, I presume they will burn the whole country to the ground rather than face the music of their treason.

Giddy Up.

The above hissed in response by: Johnny Yuma [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2006 4:37 PM

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