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Goss Forced Out as CIA Director; Gen. Hayden Is Likely Successor

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/05/AR2006050500937_pf.html Goss Forced Out as CIA Director; Gen. Hayden Is Likely Successor By
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2006
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      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/05/AR2006050500937_pf.html

      Goss Forced Out as CIA Director; Gen. Hayden Is Likely
      Successor

      By Dafna Linzer and Walter Pincus
      Washington Post Staff Writers
      Saturday, May 6, 2006; A01

      Porter J. Goss was forced to step down yesterday as
      CIA director, ending a turbulent 18-month tenure
      marked by an exodus of some of the agency's top talent
      and growing White House dissatisfaction with his
      leadership during a time of war.

      The likely successor to Goss is Gen. Michael V.
      Hayden, the former director of the National Security
      Agency and now deputy to Director of National
      Intelligence John D. Negroponte, senior administration
      officials said. He could be named as soon as Monday.

      Seated next to President Bush in the Oval Office,
      Goss, a Republican congressman from Florida before he
      took over the CIA, said he was "stepping aside" but
      gave no reason for the departure. Bush, who did not
      name a successor, said he had accepted the resignation
      and thanked Goss for his service.

      "Porter's tenure at the CIA was one of transition,
      where he's helped this agency become integrated into .
      . . the intelligence community," Bush said. "That was
      a tough job, and he's led ably." Bush said he had
      developed a "very close personal relationship" with
      Goss, who succeeded George J. Tenet in September 2004.

      But senior administration officials said Bush had lost
      confidence in Goss, 67, almost from the beginning and
      decided months ago to replace him. In what was
      described as a difficult meeting in April with
      Negroponte, Goss was told to prepare to leave by May,
      according to several officials with knowledge of the
      conversation.

      "There has been an open conversation for a few weeks,
      through Negroponte, with the acknowledgment of the
      president" about replacing Goss, said a senior White
      House official who discussed the internal
      deliberations on the condition of anonymity. Another
      senior White House official said Goss had always been
      viewed as a "transitional figure" who would leave by
      year's end. His departure was accelerated when Bush
      shook up his White House staff in hopes of beginning a
      political turnaround.

      Members of Congress privately predicted that Hayden,
      who once enjoyed tremendous support on the Hill, would
      face a contentious confirmation process over the Bush
      administration's domestic spying program. Other
      sensitive issues, such as the existence of secret
      prisons abroad for terrorism suspects, also are likely
      to arise.

      "The calculus is that would be true about anybody at
      this point. Given all the other stuff, like secret
      prisons, the confirmation is going to be tough for
      anybody," a senior administration official said.

      Another candidate mentioned along with Hayden is Mary
      Margaret Graham, who was transferred from CIA
      headquarters after clashing with Goss's staff. She now
      coordinates intelligence collection for Negroponte.
      Homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend, a
      rumored potential candidate, is not in the running,
      officials said.

      Negroponte became intelligence czar last year in a job
      created by Congress when it overhauled the nation's
      intelligence agencies in response to their failure to
      prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
      Negroponte's role as the government's senior
      coordinator overseeing a web of intelligence agencies
      diminished Goss's job.

      Goss was stripped of the title of director of central
      intelligence, which had been held by his predecessors
      in addition to the title of CIA director, and many of
      the duties were taken over by Negroponte. But
      Negroponte, a career ambassador whose last two posts
      were at the United Nations and in Iraq, has been under
      pressure from Congress in recent weeks to demonstrate
      that he is in charge of the intelligence community and
      able to make tough decisions.

      Goss and Negroponte had been friends for years and
      were fraternity brothers at Yale, where they graduated
      in 1960. But turf battles erupted as Negroponte's
      operation grew and Goss was embattled within his own
      agency, where some officers viewed him as staunchly
      partisan and politically weak.

      Negroponte replaced Goss in presiding over the
      president's daily intelligence briefing, and he worked
      to bring CIA personnel and some of its analytical
      functions into his growing operations. Those steps
      quickly put him at odds with his friend. Privately,
      Goss's associates said the two men clashed with
      increasing frequency in recent months, and they blamed
      Negroponte for hurting Goss's reputation with the
      president.

      But administration officials said Goss never forged a
      strong relationship with Bush. "It just didn't click,"
      one official said, speaking on the condition of
      anonymity. Goss's reserved personality and inability
      to master details of intelligence activities dampened
      the atmosphere of the president's morning intelligence
      briefing, which had been a central feature of the
      close relationship between Bush and Tenet. In one of
      his early interviews, Goss complained that he was
      spending hours preparing for the Oval Office sessions.

      "Once Negroponte came in and Porter was no longer
      doing the president's daily briefings, he lost the
      opportunity to build the kind of relationship with the
      president that other directors had," said Mark
      Lowenthal, who was a senior adviser to Tenet and
      briefly to Goss before leaving the agency in March
      2005.

      Internally, Goss struggled to articulate a vision for
      an agency reeling from the intelligence failures of
      9/11 and Iraq before the March 2003 invasion, current
      and former colleagues said. And Goss could not
      overcome a reputation as a partisan politician who
      worked congressional hours and appeared disinterested
      in his overseas intelligence counterparts. Goss also
      caused waves at the agency in dealing with complaints
      about his chief of staff, Patrick Murray. During a
      tense staff meeting, Goss told agency employees he did
      not handle personnel matters, according to people who
      attended.

      In Goss's first days in office, his appointment of
      Michael Kostiw as executive director ended after it
      became public that Kostiw had been forced to leave the
      CIA under a cloud 20 years earlier. The subsequent
      search at the agency to find who leaked the
      information about Kostiw's past led the top two
      officers in the agency's clandestine service to resign
      in protest.

      Kostiw's replacement, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, is the
      subject of a review by the CIA's inspector general.
      The agency is examining whether Foggo arranged for any
      contracts to be granted to companies associated with
      Brent R. Wilkes, a contractor and longtime friend of
      Foggo's who had connections to Rep. Randy "Duke"
      Cunningham (R-Calif.).

      Cunningham left Congress and was sentenced to more
      than eight years in prison for corruption. Foggo has
      said he has done nothing improper, and the agency has
      said the review is standard practice in such
      situations, not an indication of any wrongdoing. After
      Goss's announcement yesterday, Foggo told colleagues
      that he will resign next week. Last week, the agency
      confirmed that Foggo attended private poker games with
      Wilkes at a Washington hotel.

      Over Goss's 18 months, more than a dozen senior
      officials -- several of whom were promoted under Goss
      -- resigned, retired early or requested reassignment.
      Robert Richer, who was head of the Near East division,
      served less than a year as the No. 2 official in the
      clandestine service before quitting in frustration
      over Goss's leadership last November. Richer then
      spent several days privately sharing his concerns with
      senior congressional leaders and Negroponte.

      In the clandestine service alone, Goss lost one
      director, two deputy directors and at least a dozen
      department heads, station chiefs and division
      directors, many with the key language skills and
      experience he has said the agency needs. The agency is
      on its third counterterrorism chief since Goss
      arrived.

      Goss was a young CIA case officer in the 1960s before
      entering Republican politics in the wealthy Florida
      community of Sanibel. He was elected to Congress and
      eventually became the chairman of the House
      intelligence panel. He had been preparing to retire
      from public service and spend more time on a family
      farm in Virginia when he was asked by Vice President
      Cheney to stay as chairman after the 2001 attacks.
      When Tenet resigned in mid-2004, Goss was nominated to
      succeed him.

      Republicans joined Bush yesterday in thanking Goss but
      did not praise his tenure. Democrats said his
      leadership had been a failure.

      "Regrettably, Porter Goss's tenure as director of the
      CIA was a tumultuous one," said Sen. John D.
      Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), senior Democrat on the
      intelligence panel. "We must have a leader with strong
      credentials, a demonstrated track record of
      independence and objectivity, and the ability to bring
      much needed harmony within the ranks."

      Staff writers Dana Priest, Peter Baker and Jim
      VandeHei and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
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