Saturday, May 06, 2006

Heckuva Job, Portey!

Well, it looks like yet another Bush appointee has worked the administration's patented Reverse Midas Touch Magic on yet another important federal agency:
Porter J. Goss was brought into the CIA to quell what the White House viewed as a partisan insurgency against the administration and to re-energize a spy service that failed to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks or accurately assess Iraq's weapons capability.

But as he walked out the glass doors of Langley headquarters yesterday, Goss left behind an agency that current and former intelligence officials say is weaker operationally, with a workforce demoralized by an exodus of senior officers and by uncertainty over its role in fighting terrorism and other intelligence priorities, said current and former intelligence officials. ....

"Now there's a decline in morale, its capability has not been optimized and there's a hemorrhaging of very good officers," Brennan said. "Turf battles continue" with other parts of the recently reorganized U.S. intelligence community "because there's a lack of clarity and he had no vision or strategy about the CIA's future." ....

Four former deputy directors of operations once tried to offer Goss advice about changing the clandestine service without setting off a rebellion, but Goss declined to speak to any of them, said former CIA officials who are aware of the communications. The perception that Goss was conducting a partisan witch hunt grew, too, as staffers asked about the party affiliation of officers who sent in cables or analyses on Iraq that contradicted the Defense Department's more optimistic scenarios.
Leaving aside the political purge he conducted and the brilliant job he did of crippling the agency's capabilities, there's also the interesting matter of why Porter Goss has suddenly decided to step down now. As Josh Marshall notes, this could be directly related to the growing Hookergate scandal. If so, stay tuned. This is going to get good.

1 comment:

S.W. Anderson said...

I sense there's (justifiable) chargrin among intelligence professionals that they're being used as political whipping boys and girls for the folly and mistakes of the elected clods in charge.

CIA pros are hard put to explain, much less defend themselves. So, they can either cash in their careers and go sell cars or insurance, or they can tell themselves, "this too shall pass," and take it.

Clearly, if I'm right, this situation doesn't make for optimum performance.

As it says on a treasured button I picked up a couple years back, "A thousand points of light, and we had to get the dim one."