...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

May 05, 2006

Is It Time To Test This Administration For Doneness?

[The following post was posted earlier today on annika's journal backup blog, which every good A's J fan should have bookmarked.]

As everyone knows by now, CIA chief Porter Goss has resigned today, quite unexpectedly. He did so in a joint appearance with President Bush, on a Friday afternoon. Bush said something equivalent to "heck of a job Gossie" or some crap like that.

All these signs point even an unseasoned observer like myself to the following conclusion. He was probably fired.

The fact that nobody expected this, and nobody in the administration has tried to explain away the unexpectedness is also a clue. The fact that Goss's statement used the words "step aside" not "resign" may or may not be significant.

Time Magazine has a piece on the resignation, which everybody and their brother is linking to, perhaps because it's one of the first MSM contributions that at least tries to piece together some background. Read it here.

Captains Quarters speculates, persuasively in my opinion, that Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend will replace Goss. An announcement is scheduled for Monday, so we will see.

I doubt that the speculation regarding hookers and "Duke" Cunningham, even if true, would be the reason for so sudden a resignation. I could be wrong, but isn't it a bad idea to fire an important intelligence chief over sex during a time of war? If it's a bribery scandal, that's a different story. But sex? I mean, who cares if he's still able to do his job, right?

I have no clue why he might have been fired, if indeed he was. But maybe he had serious philosophical problems with the bureaucratic restructuring that was mandated by the 9/11 Commission report. I think the whole CIA is in disarray over this, and that it has been floundering from internal division and external pressures for quite some time. Goss's resignation is a symptom of the agency's dysfunction.

I never quite understood why it was a good idea to consolidate the intelligence services under an all-powerful czar. If the problem is faulty intelligence, consolidation would tend to exacerbate that problem. What we really need is redundancy. A system of competing, parallel and independent intelligence agencies should be more likely to generate good information, even if such a system were less efficient.

Again, I'm no expert, but I think the changes should have been limited to enforcement of interagency information sharing, breaking down "the wall," renewing the Patriot Act, and expelling the dead wood and anti-American moles. But creating a whole new level of bureaucracy? When has that ever been a solution to any problem?

I'd much rather have multiple guys reporting to the president on intelligence matters than one DNI chief. I don't know anything about Negroponte, he may be a stand up guy, but what if he's not? He's the only gatekeeper now. If he screws up, if he downplays some key information that later turns out to be important for instance, who's there to challenge him?

Perhaps we'll find out more this weekend about why Goss left. But sudden changes in key positions, no matter how management tries to downplay them, are never good for morale. Anyone who's ever worked in a large company knows this. Goss came into the position with a lot of fanfare, he was a former agent and was supposed to be the perfect guy to get the CIA back on track. Now he's out. I don't like what I'm seeing here, and now my morale is starting to be affected.

Posted by annika, May. 5, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


Gross resigned to run for Senator in Florida.

Posted by: Jake on May. 5, 2006

I listened to the talking heads at CNBC, Fox, and CNN discuss this and your take is as good as any I heard. It seems like this really surprised the MSM.The most common comments related to the relationship between Goss and Negraponte. A few commentators stated that the CIA is nearly unmanagable due to a host of competing agendas inside the agency. The guest host at "Hardball" seem positively captivated by the idea that this might somehow be connected to lobbyists, gambling, and hookers. And, hey, when you don't know shit about something, hookers are just more exciting than two old white guys not liking each other.

I have worked in and around government my entire career and have personally experienced the ability of bureaucrats to completely frustrate the will of political appointees who are there to implement the vision of the elected executive (and by extension the "people" since they elect the executive.) I don't envy the next Director.

Posted by: Blu on May. 5, 2006

Of course, I could tell you the real story, but then I'd have to kill you. ;-)

"Goss resigned to run for Senator in Florida."

The filing deadline is the 12th. If true, this'll be one hell of an ugly, bloody GOP primary: Harris, Bense, Goss and God knows who else. The only thing it certainly won't be is boroing.

Posted by: Dave J on May. 5, 2006

Put a fork in it; it's mnot done yet.

Two and a half more years then McCain for eight.

Eat your heart out, John Kerry...

Posted by: shelly on May. 5, 2006

Shelly....a McCain supporter? Why? Thinking he has a good shot with Independents?

Posted by: Blu on May. 5, 2006

I can't imagine having John "I can live with the 1st amendment" McCain as president for 8 hours let alone 8 years. Not only should he not get the nomination he should be out of the senate.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin on May. 5, 2006

Stephen, my instinctual reaction is closer to yours than Shelly's, but I'd like to learn what McCain supporters see as his potential, strengths, etc.

Posted by: Blu on May. 5, 2006

this is OT, but i think mccain's appeal is a perceived electability based on his "independence." i'm not buying it. I'm with L Ingraham who suggests that a mccain candidacy might invite a conservative third party challenger like tancredo, thus ensuring a hillary victory. mccain would never get nominated anyway so no worries.

Posted by: annika on May. 5, 2006

i concur. he'll never get the nomination. i think our best chance in '08 is Guilliani, but he might have the same problem as McCain - that is, he might have a difficult time winning primaries, particulary in southern states. i've been impressed with no other '08 candidate - except maybe Romney. He says all the right things and speaks well. But I think the LDS stuff is not gonna fly.

Posted by: Blu on May. 5, 2006

I had dinner with a lobbyist tonight who spoke augustly through the evening. My gut told me that he was full of shit. When he swore his allegiance to McCain, I KNEW he was. Political parasites suck ass.

Posted by: Casca on May. 5, 2006

I like the idea of Goss running for Senate. All weekend long it will be Goss, Goss, Goss. YOu can't buy advertising like that.

Harris has been a disaster in everyway. If Goss is going to get on the ballot, she must be going to get off.

Posted by: Casca on May. 5, 2006

Goss wasn't fired, he QUIT.

Look at it this way, you're offered a job, a job that under the National Security Act of 1947 has a very specific definition. Then, not long after you accept that job, your primary duties are removed from you? Essentially, you become worthless. What do you do?

You're going to be a lawyer, Annkia, You know how law firms work. What would you do under those those circumstances, stick around around and be redundant?

The idea that Goss is going to run for the Senate for anything other than a community college is silly. Where exactly do you suppose he'll get the money, or even the signatures to get on the ballot? He's pissed at the President and found the best time to take his shot by quitting.

It also gives him the best window to have a book out by 2008.

Posted by: skippystalin on May. 6, 2006

"Harris has been a disaster in everyway. If Goss is going to get on the ballot, she must be going to get off."

I agree she's been a disaster, but I don't see any reason to expect her to stop being one now. She's too bullheaded to get out: she'll have to be pushed out.

FYI, here's the much more likely serious opposition to Harris in the GOP nomination fight. I know Speaker Bense: he would give Bill Nelson a serious run for his money, and make a good Senator. Kathy Harris, of course, would do neither. Goss is now the x-factor, but there's less than a week for this to all play itself out.

Posted by: Dave J on May. 6, 2006

Oh, I can see dubyah telling Jeb to tell Harris to step aside. She'd respond to that.

Goss got trickfucked out of the top intel job, and who needs more bureaucrats who only sit on and manipulate intel? Government employees are eunuchs who exist only to preserve their position and power. There is nothing but risk for them in seeking progress or truth.

Posted by: Casca on May. 6, 2006

Never, never underestimate the desire of political parties to WIN.

The Dem's go first this time; if it is Hillary, there is a very short list of those who can beat her. My personal choice is George Allen, but he would get run over.

The only Rep's who could do it are McCain, Guiliani and/or Rice. If she says yes, it is hers for the asking. If not, they'll turn (reluctantly) to McCain, and pair him with a conservative like Allen or Romney.

Running second place in the general election is eight years of misery. Ask the Dem's...

Posted by: shelly on May. 6, 2006

Shelly, I think you are right about the Dems and Hillary. We have to come up with someone different than Allen or any other standard southern, Christian right-winger. We need somebody who is actually conservative but doesn't appear to be linked too closely to the Christian Right - all the while still being acceptable to them. Not an easy person to find. I'm not a raging social conservative - the most important issue to me is the WOT. So, I would prefer a person whose focus is the WOT rather than re-hashing the abortion wars. I'd also like a person with the balls to say "no" to congress once in a while.

Posted by: Blu on May. 6, 2006

Gents, it's too soon to tell. But as I've whispered to Shelly in private, we have a secret weapon in Ohio named Ken Blackwell. He's the perfect first black American to be on the presidential ballot, and he'll help the top of the ticket whoever it is. Can you say five percent bump in the black vote nationwide? It wil destroy the old "new deal" union thug, welfare state paradigm. Ka BOOM!

Posted by: Casca on May. 6, 2006

He won't help much if it is Condi, will he?

Posted by: shelly on May. 7, 2006

I've only heard Blackwell interviewed one time - it was on, Hewitt, I think. He didn't come off as very bright. Have any you heard him more often? It is not fair to judge off of one interview.

Casca, I love the idea of the Reps putting forward a black candidate for President. It seems right from both a philosophical and historical perspective. I also think, while unfair, the first Rep black candidate is going to fall under more heavy scrutiny than any candidate ever. The cries from the MSM and the Left will be a mixture of "see, you do believe in affirmative action when it helps your side," and the most nasty sort of racism along the lines of "your an Uncle Tom" aimed at the candidate. It will be pure hypocrisy, but, then again, this is what the Left and MSM do for a living. (Remember, the love-fest thrown for Jessie Jackson in 1984 by these same groups.)

Posted by: Blu on May. 7, 2006

I've had a dozen one-on-one conversations with him, and have known several people who work for him. He's navigated the cess-pool of the Ohio Republican Party while maintaining his honor. You can't be stupd and do that. Compared to Taft, Blackwell is a fucking genius. He's a very folksy guy, and connects with people. Former Cincinatti Mayor, run statewide successfully several times. He's a man with a rep for being a straight shooter. I don't know anyone else on the statewide level in Ohio that I could say that about. No matter what happens this year, It would be stupid not to choose Blackwell in '08. As for McCain & Condi, put down the crackpipe Shelly. McCain is unelectable, and Condi isn't interested.

Posted by: Casca on May. 7, 2006

McCain is indeed electable, as much as ultra-conservatives try to spin otherwise. He appeals to independents, and would bring out the conservative vote if he ran against Hillary.

Posted by: will on May. 8, 2006


You may be correct that he is "electable." I think the issue some of us were making is that he would have a very difficult time in the primaries and, consequently, never be the nominee. (And he would need to explain to some of us how he could champion something as stupid and purely political as "McCain-Feingold" among a host of other poor choices he had made over the years.)

Who knows though - 2008 appears pretty wide open on the Rep side.

Posted by: Blu on May. 8, 2006

Back to the intelligence organization, which is the result of a fix-it mentality. After J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Helms, and Oliver North, the Wise People concluded that the FBI, CIA, and NSA can't be trusted, and certainly can't be trusted when they plot together to do evil things to wonderful citizens. As a result, there was no cooperation between the agencies, and 9-11 happened (partially due to a lack of shared information). So the next fix-it was to get all the agencies to work together under one big Intelligence Czar. A few years from now, we'll conclude that the Intelligence Czar is too far divorced from the intelligence itself. (No jokes here.) So at that point will we conclude that the NSA and CIA need to be restored to their originally mandated positions? No, we'll perform yet another reorg, come up with a new organization with yet another acronym that will initially be designed to include all the current intelligence organizations, but then due to political infighting will be re-directed to only include some of the intelligence agencies. Of course, all of this could be derailed if a security officer in the Department of Agriculture does Bad Things, resulting in a major crisis. Reorganization for reorganization's sake is a prescription for disaster (unless you're a government consultant who charges by the hour).

So, want to ask me what I think of the "eliminate FEMA" idea?

Posted by: Ontario Emperor on May. 9, 2006

No, and you left out the intermediate step where it's concluded by those feckless fucks with a vote in the legislature that all would be well if only those agencies were led by women, thus leading to historic disaster, and driving a return to The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Posted by: Casca on May. 10, 2006