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Porter Goss plans post-election "purge" at the CIA. Goss is a hack. The Democrats, like idiots, mostly voted for him in the Senate after getting him to promise that he wouldn't be a hack. Then, in his initial appointments he revealed that he's a hack, which, in fact, we all already knew. And now he plans to purge the intelligence community so that it can be filled with more hacks. That's some damn fine work all around.

October 23, 2004 | Permalink


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Tracked on Oct 24, 2004 4:47:28 PM


Yeah, they kinda rolled over and exposed their bellies for rubbing like puppies?

Posted by: roo roo | Oct 23, 2004 12:39:49 PM

Because we all know that there's nothing wrong with the CIA and they don't need reform. The status quo is perfect. Let's just keep all the same bureaucrats that gave us 9/11. Awesome.

"It's kind of interesting that Mr. Goss was accused (in his confirmation hearings) of not being reform-minded enough."

Posted by: Modern Crusader | Oct 23, 2004 12:46:34 PM

Not idiots. They saw from the blocking of Homeland Security bill that this intransigence on this sort of issue can be hard to explain on the campaign trail. If Kerry wins, Goss will be out in 24 hours.

Posted by: otto | Oct 23, 2004 12:56:28 PM

Yes, I agree completely.

Otto wrote: "Not idiots. They saw from the blocking of Homeland Security bill that this intransigence on this sort of issue can be hard to explain on the campaign trail. If Kerry wins, Goss will be out in 24 hours."

Posted by: Blue Iris | Oct 23, 2004 1:02:54 PM

Porter is their buddy. They lunch and golf together, and families ski in Aspen once a year. They may disagree on some issues, but Porter is no monster, and the Senate requires personal relationships blah blah blah.

Republicans will always win as long as fraternization by Democrats is considered acceptable behavior. I not only don't like Republicans, I am not at all fond of Democrats who hang out with, or visit, or treat humanely Republicans.

Shunning and ostracizing are the best methods. As long as Republicans are allowed to compartmentalize their behavior, so that support of torture and voter suppression does not have a price every day for every Republican, they will continue.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 23, 2004 1:08:16 PM

"BEGALA: This is -- now, the guy who makes Bush's ads, Mark McKinnon, is a dear friend of mine. We went to college together. I love him.

Mark, you need to switch to decaf, bud."

This is what I am talking about. The message of the ad, which is reinforced every day by Bush & Cheney, is that voting for Kerry will get you killed. I wonder what sort of ad McKinnon could possibly put out that would lose Begala's friendship.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 23, 2004 1:17:20 PM

Sounds great; I'd rather have my party's hacks than your party's hacks. Republican presidents should be able to get rid of Democratic hacks when they are elected, and Dems can get rid of the Republican hacks when they are in office.

Posted by: Reg | Oct 23, 2004 1:17:44 PM

Otto's right. Oppossing Goss would have been the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time. But what if they had at least threatened to block him?

Posted by: praktike | Oct 23, 2004 1:21:14 PM

Yeah Reg. Good thought- make staffing and personnel decisions at the CIA based on political party affiliation. Wow. Thank you for that stunning bit of dumbassery.

Posted by: TJ | Oct 23, 2004 1:26:22 PM

A large reason the Bush administration has been such a miserable failure in foreign and domestic policy is their political purity tests for appointess and the partisan paranoia towards the State Dept, CIA and the DoC.

Sure, all of these bureaucracies need reform in some way, they almost always do, but we aren't talking genuine reform here. The Bush group has been merely looking to take their ideological people and swap them for what they saw as the politically tainted folks who had been there for awhile, right or wrong.

Now its not at all unusual for a new adminsitration to plug in their people in key spots after taking office, but in talking to people who have worked with the Bush election team since his governorship days, it was really amazing to hear about how they couldn't trust CIA or DoS to not provide them with politically tainted information and how all of these campaign workers, many of them without one iota of experience in any relevant policy making position, were looking forward to being "assigned" inside these agencies.

This level of distrust can also be seen in the pre 9/11 lack of focus on Al Qaeda, the Iraq rebuilding effort, and fiscal and tax policy over the last four years. Essentially the administration dismissed important policy analysis on multiple occasions in relation to these issues, that might have save the nation a lot of grief, blood and treasure, and they did this largely because of the agencies and people produced it.

So what we see with Porter Goss is not any attempt at "reform" such as improving Humint assets, its just more of the same making sure everyone has our color of jersery on. To hell with the agency and what is designed to do.

Posted by: Harold Babar | Oct 23, 2004 2:00:20 PM

As long as they allow themselves to be bullied, anything and everything is gonna be 'wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time' for them. Why couldn't they turn it around and make it the right war at the right time?

The Democratic party these days is, basically, a liberal wing of the Republican party. Bankrolled by the same people.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 23, 2004 2:06:34 PM

CIA has some problems, but

(1) The CIA is not presently staffed with Democrats, but rather, career civil servants who are generally unaffiliated with any party. Goss and the GOP want to replace professionals with Republican hacks, not Democratic hacks with Republican hacks. Reg is lying.

(2) The CIA was right on bin Laden (remember the PDB? Bush may not, but you should), and it was closer to being right on Iraq than Goss and his patrons in the administration were (remember how Feith and co. pressured them to change the NIE so it would be more alarmist?). If the CIA needs to be reformed, it needs to be pushed further away from the Republican party line, not towards it. Modern Crusader is lying.

Not that any of this information about the CIA is new. Or the fact that Reg and Modern Crusader are liars is a surprise.

Posted by: JP | Oct 23, 2004 2:08:21 PM

For a disgruntled ex-hippy who thought the revolution would never come, the second Bush interregnum would be like Christmas in November. Bankrupt the evil Federal government? No problem! Persuade people not to join the army? Making good progress there. Dismantle the CIA? Just give them a few months. This is the gift that just keeps on giving.

It speaks worlds to the lives Republicans live that they cannot imagine there might be a downside to firing the people they don't like, and replacing them with their friends.

They remind me of a superviser we had on the night shift, who seemed serenely oblivious to all around her. Finally she went for a carotid angiogram and we learned the reason why- a 90% bilateral occlusion of blood flow to the brain. Her entire brain wasn't getting enough blood to keep a little finger warm and pink!

It's a lucky thing that our 'leaders' are mainly 3-dimensional window dressing for the infomercials of our lives.

Posted by: serial catowner | Oct 23, 2004 2:17:58 PM

Presume Bush is re-elected. Goss will replace twenty-year non-partisan CIA veterans with Repub party hacks. Four years, 8, 12 down the line, will the Democratic President be willing to immediately upon inauguration do the same?

If not the message sent down the ranks of the CIA is that only way to have a career and promotion possibilities is to toe the Republican party line.
Will Kerry if elected purge all, and I mean all Republicans out of the bureacracies? One doubts it, but this imbalance in partisanship will destroy the Democratic party, and irreparably damage the nation.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 23, 2004 2:18:08 PM

Bob McManus is right. As long as Democrats in Congress continue to allow Republicans to compartmentalize their hatred and bigotry, behaving as decent human beings until they have to act officially, we can't stop things like the Goss appointment, or the coming Supreme Court appointments. When Republicans behave as they have over the past ten years they really aren't decent human beings, no matter how well they play golf or sing in barbershop quartets.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Oct 23, 2004 2:22:48 PM

So you're assuming that the CIA will inevitably be run by party hacks, Reg? Interesting.

Posted by: JakeV | Oct 23, 2004 2:28:10 PM

Matthew et al have not thought this thru. During the Bush administration we have only seen one side of the politicization of intelligence. The practice of fudging the truth in order to provide the President with policy support.

But there is another side of politicization of intelligence. What does it mean that a Republican CIA employee must "toe the party line." Well, in recent years, as in the Clinton years, party loyalty has meant doing your utmost to damage and discredit Democrats.

So I fully expect should Kerry get elected, that Republican CIA operatives to feed the White House deliberate disinformation in order to destroy a Kerry Presidency.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 23, 2004 2:44:15 PM

A serious question:

given the sheer size of the patronage that has taken place in post-war Iraq (jobs that should have been taken by, say, experts on Iraq or Islam taken instead by folks from AEI and other unqualified political employees) --

-- how much of John Kerry's job will be to:

a) respond to leaks by people who were appointed because of their GOP leanings,

and b) separate the people leading the US effort in Iraq who are hacks from those who aren't.

The CIA appointees are fairly recent and aren't nearly as embedded. In Iraq, political hacks might be the few civilian US "boots on the ground."

Posted by: Chris Rasmussen | Oct 23, 2004 2:47:57 PM

So what else is new. Congressional Democrats have failed at every step along the way to mount any effective opposition to Bush's tyrannical impulses. Why should this issue be any different? The Democrats seem to have swallowed the dubious bureaucratic lessons drawn by the 9/11 Committeee and Senate Intelligence Committee that the nation's intelligence agencies need to be more disciplined, regimented and closed - rather than opened up, distributed and diversified.

The fact is that when it comes to the big screwups - 9/11, Iraq - the Congress and the President have the same interest, regardless of party: passing the buck to unelected officials. Hence, the bipartison fabrication that the big problem over the past four years has been "intelligence failures" rather than leadership failures.

Bush was exposed to several sometimes conflicting channels of intelligence opinion leading up to the war. The Office of Special Plans claimed important working connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda, based in large part on the reports of Iraqi expatriots like Ahmed Chalabi. The CIA expressed skepticism about this connection, and told him why they didn't trust the reliability of the expats. Apparently Bush listened to the former rather than the latter. Thus Bush is culpable for exercising bad judgment. The CIA also presented Bush with a more nuanced picture, and included dissenting analytic opinions within their reports. Some of these dissenting opinions even made there way out of Langley to the public at large, allowing us even more ammunition to second guess Bush's judgments. Many in Congress klikewise proved themselves suckers. A rational conclusion Americans might draw: elect fewer idiots.

A really "democratic" party, one would think, would believe that it is a good thing for the public to have access to as much of the information and analysis generated by our intelligence agencies as possible. But not our "Democratic Party". They seem to agree that it is "dangerous" for smart people to speak out. For one thing it "dangerously" exposes their own judgments to ridicule.

Republicans and Democrats are as one on this issue. The backward "CYA" lesson elected Washington seems to have drawn is this: We need to have an even more heirarchical, centralized, unified intelligence apparatus than we already do, one delivering a single tight, simple, clear message to the White House and Congress. That way, when it comes time for stupid Presidents and to make decisions, they won't get too confused.

And if the decision turns out to be a bad one, it won't be the fault of the policy-makers - they can just blame the intelligence. If there is only one intelligence opinion reaching the President's and the Congress's ears, then they can more easily pass the buck. When there is more than one open channel, the leaders own judgment plays a larger role in the decision, and they have to accept some of the blame when they choose to listen to one channel rather than the other - especially if that annoying public finds out about it.

The old-fashioned bureaucratic impulse at work in the conclusion that we now need a new Super-Centralized Intellignece Czarship to oversee the old agencies - including the not-so-Central Intelligence Agency in Langley - seems to run counter to the spirit of the times which has learned to value the wisdom of decentralized networks and diverse sources of information. Many Democrats have fallen victim to this totalitarian line, perhaps because they blame Iraq on outfits like the Office of Special Plans. They think we need to shutdown the "stovepipes".

But suppose the situation were reversed. Suppose two years ago we had a Porter Goss-lead CIA telling a Democratic President in one clear unequivocal voice, without caveats and demurrals that there was a strong tie between Saddam and Al Qaeda. And suppose there was on ad hoc Office of General Plans set up by the Democratic Vice President to provide the president with an alternate opinion and dissenting views. Wouldn't Democrats then think the existence of these alterantive channels was a good thing?

I say let a thousand stovepipes bloom. The more information the better. It is up to the leadership to ask smart questions and determine whom to listen to. And I would also recommend the President read some books on his own while he's at it, so he can ask those smart questions.

And we need more openness and loose lips in our intelligence agencies, not fewer. We need to know what our leaders know - it's called "accountability." The profoundly un-democratic alternative is that the intelligence agencies serve only the President and his whims. Whatever they know has to be filtered through the White House before it gets out to us, rather than being released directly. By all means, we don't want any CIA analysts performing a public service by providing us with information that it would be good for us to know. That's supposed to be the job of the Emperor...er, President.

Closing down the alternate channels and stovepipes is, I suspect, futile. Leaders will always seek out new sources of information if they don't like the information they are getting. The Bush people went outside the CIA because they didn't trust the CIA and its culture. But the new Intelligence Czarship will eventually have its own culture. And some future leaders won't trust it.

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Oct 23, 2004 3:59:24 PM

Years from now people will look back on Dan's "thousand points of stovepipes speech" as the one that cinched his nomination as National Director of Intelligence under a Kerry adminstration and touched off a reform of the intelligence community.

They will say that it was his convincing recommendation that a president needed to "read books" that made undecideds realize they needed to throw their support to Kerry, who would win the election with a clear majority of electoral votes.

After months of court challenges to the election results the Bush administration would finally concede a loss and depart the White House, stealing every last towel and robe and trashing all the presidential windsurfing boards.

Staffers for the new president would tell of finding all the "W"'s still missing from the computer keyboards, which curiously looked as if they hadn't been used in years, and the presidential library locked and boarded up with a sign on the door that read:

"Nuthin in here but bunches of bokes."

Posted by: Windhorse | Oct 23, 2004 4:32:48 PM

That was well put Dan, and I agree with your point overall.

However, when an administration creates a stovepipe for intelligence in order to insure that it receives the intel that it WANTS to see only to support a predetermined course of action, that isn't good, and that is what we saw with the Iraq boondoggle.

Posted by: Harold Babar | Oct 23, 2004 4:37:44 PM

This is exactly why it was so important that Levin release his report when he did. The installation of partisan hacks in the IC is just the logical culmination of the strategy initiated by Feith's office.

Bob McManus: The term movement conservatives use for moderates of either party is "squish," usually dripping disdain. Democrats have, over the last 25 years, put squishes at the head of the party (DLC); we need to appoint partisans, but partisans of the reality-based community. RBC partisans need to be informed of the tactical skullugery that typifies movement conservatism, and need to be able to burn it out with sunlight.

Posted by: Dave M | Oct 23, 2004 5:09:54 PM

Modern Crusader,

I guess what the CIA really needs is to be under the thumb of people like Doug Feith of the OSP--the people who gave us those aluminum tubes and "Nigeran yellowcake."

Better yet, why not put it under the control of Richard Perle? With all that intelligence to feed the Israeli embassy, he could get enough in kickbacks to buy houses ALL OVER the French Riviera!

Posted by: Kevin Carson | Oct 23, 2004 6:23:22 PM

My son Matt,

You are correct. Mr. Goss is a hack.



Posted by: God | Oct 23, 2004 7:07:33 PM

These partisan absurdities roll on towards national tragedy because tens of millions of Bush voters out there in the great valleys of America have faith that, as George Carlin puts it, Jesus will someday bring them the pork chops. Until then, they will make do with macaroni and get along without medical care and prescriptions. They live in the faith-based community, falling rapturously for Bush's con.

Posted by: g-lex | Oct 23, 2004 10:54:55 PM

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