News Release

Porter Goss — Cheney Cat’s Paw?


Goodman, a former CIA analyst, is a senior fellow for intelligence reform at the Center for International Policy. He said today: “Goss has all the wrong credentials. He’s former CIA, a senior operations officer. An over-reliance on operations has been a big part of the problem. He’s from the Hill, so he’s a deal-cutter and a compromiser when what we need is a strategic thinker. That was George Tenet’s problem — he tried to please everyone and that’s a big part of why he was a failure. Goss was head of the House intelligence oversight committee before the 9/11 attacks and he failed to conduct oversight on the flawed 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Of course Goss is a very safe choice and given the current political landscape will likely be easily confirmed.”
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A former analyst for the CIA, MacMichael said today: “Porter Goss is a long-time member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and has been a strong defender of the agency after Iran-Contra and the post-Gulf War anger over the poor performance of the intelligence community; none of which came to very much, partly because when the Clinton administration came in, they brought in James Woolsey…. There had been very strong calls for change. Goss was a very strong supporter of the agency and not one who was ever associated with any proposal for change or, for lack of a better word, reform. To find him being the nominee can be interpreted as saying this is business as usual. Generally to have someone who was in an oversight role become director is not helpful.”

McGovern is a 27-year veteran of the CIA. In early July he wrote the article “Cheney Cat’s Paw, Porter Goss, as CIA Director?” McGovern is available for a limited number of interviews. He wrote in that article: “Republican party loyalist first and foremost, Goss chose to give an entirely new meaning to ‘oversight.’ Even when it became clear that the [Iraq] ‘mushroom cloud’ reporting was based mostly on a forgery, he just sat back and watched it all happen…. Last month [June] when Tenet was let go, administration officials indicated that a permanent replacement would not be named until after the election. They indicated they wanted to avoid washing the dirty linen of intelligence once again in public. Evidently, they had not yet checked with Karl Rove. The Democrats warn smugly that an attempt by the administration to confirm a new CIA director could become an embarrassing referendum on CIA’s recent performance, but they miss the point entirely…. The name of the administration’s game is to blame Iraq on intelligence failures, and Goss already did so last week in what amounted to his first campaign speech for the job of director….”

McGovern added: “[Goss] was happy to let the Senate intelligence committee take the lead in investigating intelligence performance on key issues like weapons of mass destruction and, before he decided to promote his candidacy for director, he generally chose to keep his committee’s head (and his own) down. With good reason. The myriad shortcomings in intelligence work appeared on his somnolent watch; by any reasonable standard, he bears some responsibility for impaired oversight — not only on Iraq, but on 9/11 as well…. There seems a better than even chance the Bush administration will nominate Goss, and use the nomination hearings as yet another forum at which to blame the Iraq debacle on faulty intelligence.”

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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 332-5055; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167