Wednesday, August 11, 2004

How much of a hack is Porter Goss?

In Slate, Fred Kaplan poses the question, "How much of a hack is Bush's CIA nominee?" -- and supplies some answers. For example, there's Porter Goss's reaction to the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative:

One would think that a former CIA spy might be appalled by reports that a White House official had publicly exposed the identity of an undercover agent, especially as an act of political retaliation against the agent's spouse. The blatant politicization of intelligence is, or should be, anathema to any professional spy—or prospective CIA director.

But Goss waved off the whole business. In an interview with his hometown paper, the Herald-Tribune of southwestern Florida, Goss said the uproar was the result of "wild and unsubstantiated allegations, which are being obviously piled on by partisan politicians during an election year." There was no need to mount an investigation, he said, because there was no evidence of "willful disclosure" (though how he reached that conclusion without an investigation, he didn't say). Then, in a jab against Bush's favorite target, Bill Clinton, Goss cracked, "Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation."

It is for such reasons, perhaps, that John D. Rockefeller IV, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has described Goss to his aides as "too political" to be placed in charge of the CIA.

Jay Rockefeller got that right. If by some fluke Goss gets confirmed -- highly unlikely, since this ain't 2002 and congressional Democrats have located their cojones -- President Kerry will have to dismiss him on January 20, 2005.


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