13 May 2006

Back to Business as Usual

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Stephen Hayes thinks that Porter Goss’s resignation as CIA Director and the pending appointment of Stephen Kappes, a prominent member of William Safire’s “flock of pouting spooks” that exited Langley in the aftermath of George W. Bush’s defeat of John Kerry in November of 2004, as Deputy Director signals the Bush Administration’s defeat by liberal mandarins in the CIA establishment.

PORTER GOSS’S TENURE as director of central intelligence began with a public spat between the new reform-minded CIA leadership and an intransigent bureaucracy. Now, 18 months later, it is ending in a cloud of confusion. Goss is gone and so are his agents of change. Two of the CIA officials at the heart of that opening battle–Mary Margaret Graham and Stephen Kappes–have been promoted. And the old guard is happy.

“The move was seen as a direct repudiation of Goss’s leadership and as an olive branch to CIA veterans disaffected by his 18-month tenure,” wrote Peter Baker and Charles Babington in the Washington Post. Yet Goss had taken to the CIA the high expectations of many top Washington policymakers who work on intelligence issues.

“Porter Goss’s confirmation . . . represents perhaps the most important changing of the guard for our intelligence community since 1947,” the year the CIA was created, said Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who chairs the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, on the day Goss was confirmed. “He will be the first director of central intelligence in a new, and hopefully better, intelligence community.”

And now he’s gone. So what happened?…

The White House took on the Agency. And the Agency won.

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