Porter J. Goss

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Porter Goss has served as Director of the CIA, and as a U.S. Representative from Florida's 14th District. He was Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence since 1997, served on the House Rules Committe and the new Select Committee for Homeland Security, and was a former officer with U.S. Army Intelligence and the CIA. Like the Bushes and Kerry, the 65-year-old Sanibel resident is a fellow Yalie ('60) (like Bush, he is also from Connecticut) He spent the 1960s in the CIA's Clandestine Services in Latin America and Europe. He was chosen for the CIA directorship after George Tenet resigned. The entire Florida delegation, including Bob Graham, endorsed Goss for the post.

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Director of Central Intelligence

Porter Goss became the Director of Central Intelligence on April 21, 2005, and he brought over many of his congressional staffers as aides. Soon afterwards, his role was greatly diminished when John Dimitri Negroponte was appointed to the newly created position of Director of National Intelligence. During Goss's short tenure, many of the CIA's most senior agents and analysts have resigned, complaining of pressure to toe the administration's line. Goss resigned on May 5, 2006, amid speculation that he was linked to the prostitution and bribery scandal surrounding former Congressman Randy Cunningham.

Legislative record

Most of his major legislation has been intelligence appropriations bills, with some local constituent-services bills. He sponsored a Constitutional amendment to limit Representatives to no more than 3 consecutive terms or four years; he has been in Congress for 16 years but is not seeking reelection. He also sponsored a bill to limit Congressional pay raises to no more than the Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, the Public Interest Declassification Act, and co-sponsored the USA PATRIOT Act. He has a consistently right-wing voting record, with the exception of supporting the Kyoto Protocol and strengthening the EPA.

September 11

The following timeline was compiled by Michel Chossudovsky. In August 2001 Goss, Senator Bob Graham, and Senator Jon Kyl visited Islamabad, Pakistan. Meetings were held with President Pervez Musharraf and with Pakistan's military and intelligence officials including the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmad, as well as with the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef. Ahmed's network notoriously had ties to Osama bin Laden and directly funded, supported, and trained the Taliban, as reported by Human Rights Watch. They met with Musharraf and Zaeef on the 27th. As reported by Agence France Presse on August 28, 2001, Zaeef assured the US delegation that the Taliban would never allow bin Laden to use Afghanistan to launch attacks on the US or any other country.

On the morning of Sept. 11, Goss, Graham, Kyl and members of the House Intelligence Committee were having breakfast with General Ahmed in a top-secret conference room on the fourth floor of the U.S. Capitol. After discussing the opium poppy problem, they were talking about Afghanistan-spawned terrorism with Ahmed when a member of Goss's staff handed a note about the attacks to Goss, who handed it to Graham. Ahmed had arrived in Washington on September 4 and had met with George Tenet and other administration officials.

Responding (Or Not) to the Attacks

On May 18, 2002, the Washington Post reported in "A Cloak But No Dagger; An Ex-Spy Says He Seeks Solutions, Not Scapegoats for 9/11" that Goss was fully defending the CIA and the Bush administration.

"Goss says he is looking for solutions, not scapegoats. "A lot of nonsense," he calls this week's uproar about a CIA briefing that alerted President Bush, five weeks before Sept. 11, that Osama bin Laden's associates might be planning airline hijackings.
"None of this is news, but it's all part of the finger-pointing," Goss declared yesterday in a rare display of pique. "It's foolishness."
"(...) Goss has repeatedly refused to blame an "intelligence failure" for the terror attacks. As a 10-year veteran of the CIA's clandestine operations wing, Goss prefers to praise the agency's "fine work."

His take on the Plame leak in October 2003 was similarly dismissive: "Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation." Goss said he had no evidence that the controversy is more than a product of "wild and unsubstantiated allegations, which are being obviously piled on by partisan politics during an election year."

Ray McGovern sees Goss as Cheney's lapdog in his role as one of the heads of the congressional joint committee investigating 9/11. According to McGovern, Goss gave

"clear priority to providing political protection for the president. Goss acquiesced when the White House and CIA refused to allow the joint committee to report out any information on what President Bush had been told before 9/11 ostensibly because it was classified. As a result, completely absent from the committee's report was any mention of the President's Daily Brief of Aug. 6, 2001, which bore the title "Bin Laden determined to strike in US," even though the press had already reported the title and the gist of that damning piece of evidence."

In June 2002, Cheney called Goss and Graham to chastise them for a media leak of sensitive information from intercepted communications. Goss admitted to being "chagrined" over Cheney's call. He and Graham promptly bypassed normal congressional procedures and went directly to Attorney General John Ashcroft, asking him to investigate the leak. Sen. John McCain (R-NM) noted the ludicrousness of allowing the FBI to build dossiers on lawmakers who are supposed to be investigating the FBI.

Ray McGovern concludes: "That Goss and Graham could be so easily intimidated by Cheney speaks volumes."

Stumping for Directorate

As MSNBC and CNN report, in June Goss turned up the partisanship--attacking Kerry for a 1977 quote arguing for intel-budget cuts and calling Kerry's proposals on nuclear security "dangerously naive."

At the same time, in a sharp turn from a history of CIA loyalty, Goss went on the attack, saying the agency has "been ignoring its core mission activities" and the clandestine service is on its way to being "a stilted bureaucracy incapable of even the slightest bit of success." He called the CIA's human intelligence gathering apparatus "dysfunctional" and adverse to change, and charged that its intelligence analysts were timid and lacked proper focus. Tenet called the attacks "ill-informed" and "absurd." Goss also used House rules to keep Democrats from attaching their amendments to the intelligence appropriations bill.

Political observers in Washington think Goss badly wants to finish up his career in Washington as director of the CIA, and has been racking up points with the administration. In July Goss dismissed the talk about him becoming CIA director as "rumint"—spook-speak for rumors. "I am not campaigning for the job. I have not sought the job. I have not asked for the job," he said. Goss refused to say whether he has discussed the job with President George W. Bush, although he acknowledged that "I talk to the White House fairly often about national-security matters."

Some Goss critics, even in the GOP, see him as another believer in the old-school notion that intel problems can be solved by throwing money and personnel at them. One says that if Bush nominates Goss, "then I want Tenet back."

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