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Check out my colleague Sam Rosenfeld's article on Porter "According to Porter Goss I'm Not Qualified For This Job" Goss and the Democrats' shameful rollover. If there's one thing we've learned over the past few years it's that it really, really, really matters who's staffing the president, especially on national security issues. George Tenet's made more than his share of mistakes, but he's also served as at least something of a break on the more insane elements inside the administration. With Goss in his place, who knows which way the ship of state will turn in a second Bush administration? One doubts it's anywhere good.

September 23, 2004 | Permalink


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That should be "brake", not "break".

Now aren't you glad you brought back comments?

Posted by: cs | Sep 23, 2004 10:05:04 AM

According to Porter Goss I'm Not Qualified For This Job

Of course, he was referring to being an agent, not the DCI.

But you knew that. And lied anyway.

Posted by: Al | Sep 23, 2004 10:17:00 AM

What, exactly, makes him unqualified for the job? He seems pretty qualified to me.

Posted by: Alex Knapp | Sep 23, 2004 10:24:35 AM

In my opinion it is the gross incompetence he has demonstrated in his oversight capacity in Conress. However, as Al points out above, he was referring to people in the field, and he lacks appropriate language skills, among other things, according to himself.

Posted by: theCoach | Sep 23, 2004 12:35:16 PM

Well, hopefully it'll only be for a few months.

Posted by: JP | Sep 23, 2004 1:13:12 PM

I think they confirmed him with the understanding he's going to be fired if Kerry wins.

Posted by: roublen vesseau | Sep 23, 2004 2:22:41 PM

I thought Senators Rockefeller and Wyden stood up pretty well. I watched their speeches on C-Span yesterday and they detailed specific areas of concern that prevented them from giving their support to Goss.

Alex K. - I think the 2 biggest areas of concern about Goss' qualifications are partisanship and an unwillingness to recognize the need for reform.
His past quotes regarding Kerry specifically and Democrats in general were pretty shocking in their partisanship and deviation from fact. He would frequently make sweeping innacurate statements to peers and the press akin to 'democrats support cutting the intelligence budget by a third.' When pressed on this kind of stuff during the recent committee hearings he balked and hedged when senators presented hard evidence to show that he was not telling the truth in numerous statements and that he in fact had to know he was not telling the truth because of his background as House Intelligence Comm chair. His response was that he realized the position of CIA director had to be nonpartisan, where that wasn't the case with a House seat. Of course the troubling aspect here is that he is a man who has demonstrated a willingness to outright lie (as opposed to exaggerate, omit facts and other typical strategies) for political advantage. Yes, plenty of politicos on both sides of the aisle do this but is this really the best we can do? How about that ugly quote when asked why he didn't think the Valery Plame outing should be investigated? "Show me a blue dress with a DNA stain and then we'll talk."

The point about an unwillingness to recognize the need for CIA / intelligence reform was made because, well, 3 years after 9/11, despite his position, he stalled and footdragged on reform. He didn't offer any legislation. He followed the administration line regarding the need not to have the 9/11 Commision. Is this really the person for the job, especially right now? And when you consider the animosity in the CIA right now towards the White House and the Pentagon, I wonder how this man, who has consistently towed the administration line is going to get the cooperation needed to reform the CIA.

Posted by: altec | Sep 23, 2004 2:24:16 PM

The hearings were actually pretty tough on him (esp. Levin, in my recollection). I think the Dems were afraid of being accused of "politicizing" national security ("American lives are at risk every day without a CIA director..."), which might hurt Kerry's chances. If Goss had given them anything solid to use against him, there might have been some more opposition, but he kept things pretty nondescript.

In the end, Goss is irrelevant. If Bush wins, you know whosoever's running the CIA will be a figurehead who won't be allowed to be competent and effective; doing what's best for Kerry is really the only thing that can be done to fix the situation.

The assault weapons ban, on the other hand...

Posted by: Adam | Sep 23, 2004 9:13:52 PM

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