Fox is reporting…. Obvious question is what this means for the administration’s anti-leak initiative.
Update: Could frustration with the CIA’s diminishing influence over intelligence have led Goss to quit? Time magazine had this to say in a piece published online only three hours ago:
Ever since John Negroponte was appointed Director of National Intelligence a year ago and given the task of coordinating the nation’s myriad spy agencies, he has been diluting the power and prestige of the best known of them all, the Central Intelligence Agency. From day one, he supplanted the CIA Director as the President’s principal intelligence adviser, in charge of George W. Bush’s daily briefing. Other changes followed, all originating in the law that created the DNI — and all traumatic for CIA fans. But now, in a little noticed move, Negroponte is signaling that he is moving still more responsibility from the CIA to his own office, including control over the analysis of terrorist groups and threats….
“It’s a huge thing going on. It’s a huge drama and nobody’s picking up on it,” the former CIA official said of the DNI’s realignment of CIA responsibilities. “CIA feels quite friendless right now. We’re seeing more pieces of it just keep being moved to the door.” A senior U.S. official sympathetic to the CIA warns that “if the DNI’s not careful, the Agency and what it does will be different, and maybe that’s what everybody wants. That’s OK, but maybe the Agency won’t be able to do what everybody wants.”
Update: Hot Air affiliate Expose the Left has video of the announcement.
Update: David Ignatius of the Washington Post is on Fox right now saying there were no indications this week from Goss that he was leaving. Could the “resignation” actually be a firing?
Update: Former spook Former Spook has a post up agreeing with Time’s analysis:
What disturbs me about the Goss resignation is the possibility that internal battles may have worn down the director, and eventually convinced him to throw in the towel. It’s no secret that Goss has been fighting pitched battles against staffers who oppose Bush Administration policies, and the new management team at the CIA. Goss recently fired CIA officer Mary McCarthy for unauthorized contacts with the press, and there are hints that other agency staffers may be implicated as well. But earlier this week, the CIA launched an investigation of the agency’s #3 official–a Goss appointee–in connection with the bribery scandal that sent former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham to federal prison. Given the timing–and announcement–of the inquiry, there was some belief that the probe was something of a “counter-attack” by agency’s anti-administration cabal.
Bill Kristol is on Fox now to say he doesn’t think Goss wanted to resign — but doesn’t think Bush wanted him to resign, either (or else he’d already have a successor in place).
Update: Chris Wallace on Fox says he spoke to a White House official who told him this is part of the White House shake-up, that Goss had done the job he’d been brought in to do by “kicking up dust” about leaks. Smells like spin to me. Friday afternoon announcement, too.
Update: Rand Beers — former counterterror honcho, Kerry campaign staffer, and friend of Mary McCarthy — is on Fox now saying he was “absolutely” surprised by the announcement.
Update: Bret Baier says on Fox that the Pentagon is shocked, too. WaPo has a report up but there’s nothing intereting yet. Glenn, meanwhile, responds to the White House spin mentioned above by asking how can Goss have done the job he’d been brought in to do when the job isn’t finished yet?
Update: The big winner today? Patrick Kennedy. Heh.
Update: And no sooner do I post that than Drudge puts up a banner saying Kennedy will enter rehab. Oh well, back to Goss.
Update: Macsmind is triumphant:
No matter what you hear, Goss came, he saw, he conquered. This isn’t a “staff change”, it has nothing to do with Rove. It was understood when he came in what he was coming in for. He did what he came to do.
He swept, now others will collect the dust.
Mac adds via one of his commenters that Tim Russert allegedly told NBC that the CIA had been looking to replace Goss for weeks, which contradicts pretty muche everything else we’d heard thus far. Looks like Fox is hearing the same now:
Some Pentagon officials said they had meetings scheduled with Goss Friday afternoon and event they didn’t know about his plans to leave the agency.
But one senior Democratic aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee told FOX News that “there were rumblings” about his departure. Committee staffers were told that the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, was “not happy” with Goss. Negroponte was named to his position in April of 2005 and took over some of Goss’ duties, such as briefing the president every morning; Goss also no longer sat atop the 16 intelligence agencies.
Update: Because the DCI resigning over a turf war with another intel honcho isn’t scandalous enough, one lefty site is trying to tie Goss to hookers. Goldstein explains.
Update: Now here’s an interesting (albeit unlikely) theory from one of the big M’s readers, which she relays to me: “Perhaps Porter Goss is returning to Florida to run for the (Nelson) Senate seat.”
Update: Andrew Sullivan labels this post “Republican spin,” which I guess I deserve for (a) dismissing the anonymous WH official’s statements to Chris Wallace as spin myself, (b) noting that the announcement was made on a Friday afternoon to minimize media coverage, and (c) linking prominently to an article in Time, a magazine that employs … Andrew Sullivan. Ah well. Page views are page views.
Here’s some more “Republican spin” from Rick Moran. Rick’s a Republican, and he has an opinion, so ipso facto — “spin.”
Update: Still more Republican spin, this time from JPod:
I doubt there’s a big scandal here, if only because the president chose to appear with Goss to announce the resignation. If Goss were somehow implicated in matters relating to Duke Cunningham, say, there’s no way on earth Bush would have made such a friendly show of his departure.
Interesting point. If the White House knows Goss is radioactive (or will be in a few days), would they really be so foolish as to allow a photo-op like this?
Answer: Yeah, they probably would.
Update: Captain Ed is leaning towards Time’s theory:
Six weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times confirmed the damage that this reorganization has done to American intel capabilities, as we noted on March 31. Negroponte as DNI allowed the new bureaucracy to grow into a 700-employee behemoth, robbing its subsidiary agencies of its talent and further frustrating agency heads such as Goss. The new CIA chief essentially got demoted to a position that no longer exercised the kind of authority that Goss needed to make the changes required of the agency. Under these circumstances, it isn’t difficult to see why Goss would want out — assuming he did.
He goes on to say that he finds a Goss connection to Hookergate unlikely since it’s doubtful CIA vetters would have missed it. Perhaps, but thorough vetting is not this administration’s forte. Ed also has a nominee to replace Goss. Go ye and read.
Update: Rumblings that WaPo is working on an exclusive this evening. America waits with bated breath, and wonders. Hookers in the headlines at tomorrow’s breakfast table? Jeff Gannon spotted on the grounds at Langley? Or is the Post about to blow the lid off that alleged Correspondents Dinner performance by Stephen Colbert we’ve all been hearing whispers about?
As usual, I agree with Ace: “Allah tells me liberals are frothing over the possibility it has something to do with the Watergate Hookers scandal. Quite frankly, I hope it’s something along those lines, rather than some malfeasance, or some bad news for the country that Goss missed.”
Update: Breaking news from Time — Goss’s likely successor is Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, who’s been a strong defender of government wiretapping. Time quotes one Democratic source as saying the confirmation process will be “a partisan food fight.” Super.
Update: CBS has the scoop: CIA Director forced out.
The sources tell Axelrod that the White House was unhappy with the lingering tensions between Goss and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. Goss was miffed at being passed over for the top intelligence job when it was created last year. He no longer briefed the president each morning; Negroponte did.
Inside CIA headquarters, sources say, they couldn’t be happier, reports Axelrod. Goss, a former CIA operative brought in 18 months ago to reform the agency, was disliked intensely.
I’ll bet. The leak-plugging bastard!
And for what it’s worth: “Agency officials dismissed suggestions that the resignation was tied to controversy surrounding the CIA’s executive director, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.”
Update: Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards explodes the conventional wisdom. “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.”
WaPo shows it has a sense of humor by assigning the queen bee of the leak hive, Dana Priest, to write Goss’s obituary. Her verdict: he was, dare I say it, dangerously incompetent. And not only incompetent but highly partisan — to the point where he suspected his subordinates of being partisans themselves! But then, he would, being a partisan and all.
How could we expect independent-minded American patriots like Mary McCarthy to do their jobs in such a politicized environment?
You’ll have to read all of this one, I’m afraid. There’s too much to blockquote and righty bloggers will be going nuts over it tomorrow so you might as well get up to speed. I will offer this bit as a reply to Dafydd, though:
“The agency was never at war with the White House,” contended Gary Berntsen, a former operations officer and self-described Republican and Bush supporter who retired in June 2005. “Eighty-five percent of them are Republicans. The CIA was a convenient scapegoat.”
As I say, definitely do read it. All the way to the end, too, or else you’ll miss the punchline, which is guaranteed to wipe those schadenfreudean ear-to-ear grins right off the Kossacks’ faces.
Update: Super Fun Power Hour reads the late-night coverage, espies no mention of hookers, and grieves: “There goes the entire whoremongering hopes of a thousand moonbat bloggers.”
Update: As predicted, here we go. Dan Riehl responds to Dana “One Intelligence Official Said” Priest:
Pardon me for pointing it out, but shouldn’t there have been a decline in morale a long, long time ago, given that, as Priest points out in the same article, the CIA embarrassed itself in and around 9/11 and Iraq. And let’s not simply dump it all on Bush out of habit. The fact is the CIA hasn’t been getting rave reviews for over two decades. After all, 9/11 wasn’t exactly the first time the World Trade Centers [sic] were attacked, now was it?
Dan, a noted partisan, has the stones to accuse Priest’s sources of being motivated by partisanship, as though the grand task of undermining the Bush administration could ever be inspired by something so ignoble. He also wonders why Goss’s failure to wine and dine foreign intel officials is some big point against him when that would seem to be Negroponte’s job now. If Priest wants to know why our relations with foreign intelligence are strained, says Dan, she might start by looking somewhere closer to home. Like her bathroom mirror.
Moran weighs in this morning too with more “Republican spin,” which he annoyingly peppers with facts and quotes so as to create a clever veneer of truth. Andrew Sullivan reports feeling shocked, appalled, concerned, and filled with heart-ache as Rick replies to Gary Berntsen:
Clearly, Priest and other reporters are downplaying the idea today that there ever was a conflict between the CIA and the White House and if there was, it was the fault of the White House. This idea is not supported by the facts. The tensions between the two factions were real and leaking done immediately prior to the 2004 election was unprecedented from a supposedly non-partisan Agency. One might argue that opposition to the Iraq War may not have been a partisan issue within the Agency. But leaking a classified pre-war analysis two days before the first Presidential debate that showed the Administration had been “warned” about the unstable post-war environment in Iraq could have one purpose and one purpose only; to hurt the President politically. If there is another definition of partisanship, I’d like to hear it.
If some senior and mid-level civil servants were “unwilling to accept the accusation that their actions were politically motivated,” are they saying that Goss didn’t even have the right to ask that question? This would be ridiculous given the circumstances. Perhaps it says more about the egos of these men and women than it does about Goss himself that they resigned.
How do you live with yourself, Rick? How?
Update: Drudge splash: “CIA CHIEF TIED TO CONTRACTOR’S POKER PARTIES; HINTS OF BRIBES AND WOMEN”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then you read the article….
Intelligence and law enforcement sources said solid evidence had yet to emerge that Goss also went to the parties, but Goss and Foggo share a fondness for poker and expensive cigars, and the FBI investigation was continuing.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA operative and a Bush administration critic, said Goss “had a relationship with Dusty and with Brent Wilkes that’s now coming under greater scrutiny.”
Johnson vouched for the integrity of Foggo and Goss but said, “Dusty was a big poker player, and it’s my understanding that Porter Goss was also there \[at Wilkes’ parties\] for poker. It’s going to be guilt by association.”
Larry Johnson, Bush-hating moonbat and, therefore, media darling, vouching for Goss’s integrity.
“It’s all about the Duke Cunningham scandal,” a senior law enforcement official told the Daily News in reference to Goss’ resignation…. Goss’ inability to handle the allegations swirling around Foggo prompted John Negroponte, the director of National Intelligence, who oversees all of the nation’s spy agencies, to press for the CIA chief’s ouster, the senior official said. The official said Goss is not an FBI target but “there is an impending indictment” of Foggo for steering defense contracts to his poker buddies.
Over to Glenn, who’s surely preparing an “Appearance of Impropriety” post to go with this. In the meantime, the CIA is in disrepair; the man whose job it was to dam the river of leaks has quit; there’s an embarrassing turf war among the heads of the country’s intelligence apparatus; and Bush is suffering the consequences for all of it — and yet the moonbats are focused on … hookers. “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous!”