Something’s not adding up, Laura Rozen says.
So, the verdict is in. According to the WP, the NYT, the LAT, Time, etc. Goss was forced out yesterday after months of tension between him and John Negroponte over the CIA’s reduced turf, and that President Bush lost confidence in Goss “almost from the beginning” (WP).
So then he was forced out on very short notice? No notification to the House Intelligence committee? Not a single newspaper report in the past few months about the tension between Goss and Negroponte? (Indeed check out the recent coverage about Congressional raised eyebrows over the empire Negroponte is building, and his alleged visits to a fancy DC club for swim and cigar breaks). On the contrary, can anyone remember a single article about Goss fighting for his folks at the Agency? …
… Negroponte has President Bush’s ear every single day when he delivers the President’s daily intel brief. If he had been lobbying to get rid of Goss, and the President was inclined to support that decision, there were a hundred ways to do it in a way that would project stability, confidence, normalcy. There was hardly a show of that yesterday. They could have named a successor. There could have been a leak to the press about Goss being tired (remember all the foreshadowing in the press about how tired Andy Card was after all those 20 hour days that preceded his departure?) and wanting to spend more time with his family, or that Bush was unhappy with him. There was none of that. It was a surprise move. What happened this week that Negroponte and Bush acted so swiftly?
Does the way it happened resemble the slo-mo, warm and fuzzy way Andy Card and Scott McClellan were retired? Or does it rather have more in common with the swiftly announced departures of Claude Allen and David Safavian from their posts, a few days before we hear of federal investigations?
Before we all get too excited over Hookergate … according to Larry Johnson, the rumor mill inside the CIA says Goss is probably not directly involved.
A former CIA buddy tells me that Porter’s main problem, however, is a key staffer who is linked to both Brent Wilkes and the CIA’s Executive Director, Dusty Foggo. My friend also said that it is highly likely that the Goss staffer did participate in the hooker extravaganza. Goss, politician that he is, probably recognized that even though he did not participate in the sexual escapades and poker games, his staffer’s participation created a huge problem for him that would be difficult to escape.
All we know for sure is that we don’t know for sure why Goss resigned. If the only reason for the resignation is Goss’s poor job performance — which is not usually a firing offense among the Bushies — why so abrupt?
The two reasons Bushies lose their jobs is (1) they’ve become — or are about to become — a political liability, or (2) they spoke out against the White House Official Version of Reality. We have to assume Goss was about to become a political liability and had to be bounced asap.
One other possibility is that Negroponte wants something from the CIA he wasn’t getting, And it’s something he wants right now. Time is of the essence. Here’s a wild card thought — could this something have to do with building a legal defense for Karl Rove’s role in Plamegate? Conventional wisdom says that if Rove’s going to be indicted, it’s going to happen within the next week or two. That’s just seat-of-the-pants speculation, of course. But Dick Cheney’s running battle with the CIA is at the heart of the Plame mess, and part of Goss’s mission was to bring the agency to heel.
NSA director General Michael Hayden is expected to be named as Goss’s replacement. Steve Soto writes that “Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld gain direct control of the CIA with Haydenâ€™s ascension.” On the other hand, Hayden’s confirmation hearings will give Democrats lots of opportunity to grill Hayden over his creative application of the Fourth Amendment at the NSA.
Steve also touches on one of my favorite themes — Bush’s management “style.”
But in reading the Postâ€™s accounts (one with Pincus, and one by Dana Priest) of the damage that Goss did to the Agency in a short period of time, one can see how awful of a manager Bush is. First, he selects and installs a man into the job who had no business there in the first place. Then, he finds that he isnâ€™t happy with the guy he just selected. He then sits by while Goss and his former staff aides set about to destroy the Agency by running out or forcing into retirement many high-level and experienced staff. Instead of dealing with that problem, he installs another dark and immoral man as a buffer between him and Goss (Negroponte), instead of dealing with the problem itself. And then, after becoming unhappy with how Goss has made the Agency dysfunctional and handled several major problems, he uses Josh Boltenâ€™s ascension as the cover to finally make a move, but again, by picking someone who will cause just as many problems because of his own inadequacies and ties to those who got Bush into this problem in the first place (Cheney and Rummy).
Bush is inept, and an incompetent manager, someone who would never have lasted in many major corporations or even in state government, let alone as leader of the free world.