Sunday, November 14, 2004

Disarry at Spook Palace

George Tenet got ousted from the C.I.A. because El Presidente needed a scapegoat for the Iraq War debacle. The new C.I.A. director, former Representative Porter Goss, has been in office seven weeks now, and things don't appear to be going all that well.

The NYTimes this morning headlined a story about a virtual rebellion in the ranks of veteran spies against the new director and the political appointees Goss has installed to run daily operations: "many career C.I.A. officers do not know whether to regard Mr. Goss as someone dispatched by the White House to punish the agency for past failures, or to rebuild its capabilities to make it stronger."

"Among those at the center of the storm ... are Steven R. Kappes, who as deputy director of operations is the most senior official still in place from the team at the agency before George J. Tenet resigned as director, and Patrick Murray, a former House Republican aide who is Mr. Goss's new chief of staff."

Translation: you got a political operative, weened on Republican Congressional ideologies and tactics, trying to order around a bunch of professionals with a low threshold for fools.

There are those who believe that "Goss really needs to go in there and clean house," but house-cleaning can also become house-wrecking almost instantly. Goss's critics "said that his failure to forge alliances among career officials and to enlist them in setting a new direction for the agency had been highly detrimental. 'You can make changes and cast them in the right way, and people will salute and go along with you,' one former C.I.A. official said. 'It doesn't look like that is happening.' "

Bottomline: look for more damaging leaks about El Presidente's masterplan to make war on Iraq well before there was any believeable rationale to make war on Iraq.

UPDATE. THE WASHINGTON POST has an even more interesting article also out today saying that Goss is "isolating" himself in the agency and that his inexperienced new aides are deeply resented: "Agency officials have criticized as inexperienced the four former Hill staff members Goss brought with him. Goss's first choice for executive director -- the agency's third-ranking official -- withdrew his name after The Washington Post reported that he left the agency 20 years ago after having been arrested for shoplifting."

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