Monday, November 15, 2004


Steve Hayes makes the case (contra me) that Porter Goss is actually intent on reforming the institutional culture of the CIA, and that the two resignations are just the CIA trying to make a big stink in public. Hayes is, I should mention, loads smart on this stuff and has the benefit of having done actual reporting.

And if this is the case, I'm all for it: The CIA's track record over the last four years hasn't been the best. But I'm still unconvinced. A couple things leap out at me.

(1) As I said before, the conflict here isn't between Goss and career subordinates, it's between Goss's congressional minion and his career subordinates. Is Patrick Murray just Goss's stalking horse? Maybe. But if this is a serious fight, Goss should be waging it himself.

(2) There seems to be an assumption that transforming an intelligence agency necessarily means pissing off the career guys. As Robert Mueller has shown during his tenure at FBI, this is a false choice. A skilled executive can transform, and bring the rank-and-file along. We should have a skilled executive at CIA.


Stephen said...

I think you are both right. The resignations are a public stink, but a better administrator might have found a way to avoid the problem altogether. Disgruntled former employess are not going to be gruntled, but Goss still makes me nervous. Perhaps President Bush knows something about his administrative skill that we don't. We'll see, I suppose.

merzbow said...

Umm, the issue here is that the CIA has transformed itself into a partisan agency over the past year that had the express goal of defeating President Bush, complete with approval from management for a senior CIA staffer to publish an anti-Bush book while still employed! There is no way to work around the far-left ideologues in the CIA. It is a danger to the country to have a CIA that is actively hostile to the President. Even if every one of these guys has to be fired, then so be it.

Bizarro Jack said...

you seem to assume that if the CIA doesn't like GWB, it must be because they are pro-abortion, want higher taxes, gay marriage, and to take God out of the pledge of allegiance.

These are not goals that I associate with the CIA. The CIA as a block has no reason to endorse any of these left vs. right issues. I have used a straw man tactic to demonstrate how moronic this notion sounds to me but I don't believe you think this. Perhaps you could try explaining just what YOU mean by saying the CIA is a "partisan agency"?

Could it be that the CIA, generally, as a group, doesn't like GWB because they don't like his affect on their ability as agents to centrally collect intelligence? Or maybe they think they collect intelligence and the Administration cherry picks what they want to hear? You know, like we've been hearing?

And how do you expect to staff an agency that large with intelligent analytical people, studying very broad fields of knowledge, without it leaning away from the neo-conservatives? It's just a fact, the more people know about (or are willing to study) other people's problems in the world, the less inclined they are to listen to people like Dick Cheney blow that brand of smoke up their rears. This is not to say that other political groups do not profess things that are clearly stupid to intelligent analytical people, but the Bush/Cheney talking points are uniquely insulting to people who like to actually know things, instead of believe what they are told to believe.