Party On, Porter - Why Are You Leaving So Suddenly?
Sure, Porter Goss isn’t implicated at all in the Duke Cunningham/Brent Wilkes/Dusty Foggo stories.
Nope, not at all.
Folks, this was a sudden move, as if the man just found out he was political and legal roadkill. I saw no clips from the usual sources that anything was coming on this, especially after Goss denied late last week that he was implicated in the stories about Brent Wilkes's hooker parties for members of Congress, one of whom was now a high-ranking intelliegence official.
There are two immediate thoughts here. First, there is no way Harry Reid will allow Bush to get a nomination through for a replacement between now and November, without making the Administration walk through fire on intelligence reform, the Roberts' Phase Two inquiry, the Plame case, and John Negroponte's pathetic performance as the Director of National Intelligence. In fact, Reid may simply take the position that "we'll wait to see who controls these committees" after November.
Secondly, without Goss there to stop the book for security reasons, does George Tenet have an easier time now getting his tell-all book to the market in mid-October as he is currently planning?
Lastly, if Bush wants to seriously nominate Francis Townsend for the job, after she has done so well with the Iraq WMD cover-up, Katrina, and bird flu, then I say "bring it on." Those will be great confirmation hearings heading into a midterm election.
Update: Per emal’s tip, check Laura Rozen’s excellent War and Piece blog, where she reports that Goss left suddenly today after a meeting with John Negroponte, wherein Goss may have been told that he’s out by Bush’s decision in response to how Goss handled a Dusty Foggo matter. Also, Rozen reports that the Post’s Dana Priest may have the story tomorrow as to why Goss left so suddenly. And as Rozen notes, the Huffington Post is now reporting that there may be another head to roll, that being Defense Department Undersecretary.
And who are the Under Secretaries of Defense?
Stephen Cambone for Intelligence, and Eric Edelman for Policy, are two of them.
The default position for center-left types like me is to assume that this is about the Brent Wilkes hooker stuff and Dusty Foggo, but I wonder if it also is about Iran. Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade are buddies, and Wade has a “let’s blast Iran” boondoggle; are these two stories connected?
Update #2: Another alternate scenario, from Time magazine this afternoon, is that Negroponte has been taking Goss's turf and power from him since Day One, and recently moved more power from him, setting off what happened today. But if this is true, then why did Goss leave today without a successor lined up, or stay until one was named and put in place? For this scenario to make sense, Goss would in effect have either been canned today in an "either he goes or I go" showdown with Negroponte, or Goss just up and quit today, catching the White House off guard. Would a loyal soldier like Goss leave Bush in a lurch like that, especially with Cheney out of the country? Was Goss no longer "on the team"?
Update #3: Spencer Ackerman at the New Republic got an off-the-record response from the CIA that Goss's sudden departure was "totally separate" from whatever is going on with Dusty Foggo.
Update #4: The latest wire update from the AP indicates that Goss said he was willing to stay awhile to ensure a smooth transition, but that the administration was talking instead about an interim Director, which means they want to get Goss out the door quickly. The story also indicates that Goss was trying to defend the Agency from "micromanagement", which is either spin from one of his senior appointees, or another replay of someone (Cheney, Rummy?) meddling in how the Agency was being run.
Image courtesy of MSNBC