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.

1 comment:

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.