Il Direttore della CIA, Porter Goss, si è dimesso a sorpresa ieri.
Qui di seguito una serie di articoli.
Dal Corsera di oggi. di E. Caretto:
WASHINGTON – A meno di due anni dalla nomina, si è improvvisamente dimesso il direttore della Cia Porter Goss, agente segreto in Centro America per un decennio, poi deputato repubblicano e leader della Commissione sull’Intelligence della Camera, un fedelissimo di Bush. Il presidente ne ha accettato le dimissioni, presentandosi con lui in tv dalla Casa Bianca ed elogiandolo con calore («Hai guidato la Cia con abilità e con integrità»), ma senza cercare di trattenerlo.
La notizia ha scosso l’intera America, già divisa dalle polemiche sugli sbagli della Cia nella strage delle Torri gemelle di Manhattan del 2001, e sui suoi abusi nelle guerre contro l’Iraq, l’Afghanistan e il terrorismo.
L’uscita di scena di Goss, 68 anni, miliardario, ha dato adito a due interpretazioni: che sia dovuta alla crisi dei servizi segreti americani dopo la loro ristrutturazione, o sia il prodotto di scandali passati e futuri, in particolare di serate di poker e con prostitute dei vertici dello spionaggio (non di Goss) nell’albergo Watergate. Nella storia americana, al nome Watergate è legata la caduta del presidente Nixon nel ’74.
Dalle indiscrezioni della Casa Bianca, l’ipotesi più attendibile è la prima. Il direttore della National Intelligence John Negroponte, l’ex ambasciatore all’Onu e a Bagdad, avrebbe avvicinato Goss, di cui è il diretto superiore, alcuni giorni fa, su richiesta del nuovo capo di gabinetto della Casa Bianca Josh Bolten, il figlio di un ex 007. E gli avrebbe detto di considerare concluso il suo compito: la riforma della Cia, una riforma che ha portato a licenziamenti e dimissioni in massa di analisti e agenti.
Ma appare consistente anche la seconda ipotesi. Stando a Bob Barr, un altro ex agente ed ex deputato repubblicano, e alla tv Cnn , due o tre alti dirigenti della Cia sarebbero coinvolti nel nuovo scandalo Watergate, avrebbero accettato le notti brave offerte loro da un lobbista. La nomina del successore di Goss dovrebbe essere annunciata già lunedì. Nella rosa dei candidati più accreditati, Frances Fragos Townsend, consigliere per la sicurezza nazionale di Bush, David Shedd, capo dello staff di Negroponte, e Mary Margaret Graham, vice di Negroponte per la raccolta di intelligence.
Officials: General to head CIA
Negroponte aide to replace Goss after apparent power struggle
Saturday, May 6, 2006 Posted: 0309 GMT (1109 HKT)
Hayden, 61, is the principal deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
If confirmed by the Senate, Hayden would replace Porter Goss, who abruptly resigned the CIA post earlier Friday after losing what intelligence sources described as a power struggle with Negroponte.
Hayden was director of the National Security Agency in 2001 when Bush authorized a controversial program allowing the agency to monitor the communications of people inside the United States who were in contact with suspected terrorists overseas without first obtaining a warrant.
Critics charge the surveillance program is a violation of law and an assault on civil liberties. Hayden has defended the program, insisting that it is a necessary tool to thwart terrorists and that the process of obtaining warrants is too slow and cumbersome to deal with "a lethal enemy."
Intelligence sources told CNN that Goss’ resignation was triggered by differences with Negroponte over plans to move staff, including analysts from the CIA’s counterterrorism center, to other intelligence agencies.
Goss was worried about too many people being taken out of key roles, the sources said. (TIME.com: The Incredible Shrinking CIA)
Also, requests for information by Negroponte’s office, which was created in December 2004 to oversee all U.S. intelligence efforts, were overtaxing CIA employees to the point that their work was being interfered with, the intelligence sources said.
"There’s been a steady encroachment on what we do," one intelligence official said, and Goss felt he needed to resign rather than accept it.
An intelligence source with detailed knowledge of the discussions surrounding Goss’ departure told CNN that after Goss resisted the changes, Negroponte sought White House backing to resolve the impasse.
A mutual decision was then made that Goss should go, and Hayden was involved in those discussions, the source said.
A senior administration official said Goss’ resignation was based on a "mutual understanding" between Bush, Goss and Negroponte.
"When you ask somebody to do very difficult things during a period of transition, it often makes sense to hand off the reins to somebody else to take the agency forward," the senior administration official said.
An intelligence official told CNN that while there were differences of opinion between Goss and Negroponte, suggestions of any harsh exchanges between the two men were "just ridiculous, not remotely true."
In April, a senior administration official told CNN that Goss would likely be out of the CIA post before the end of the summer.
Goss and other senior intelligence officials have recently been interviewed by the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which is looking into concerns that change was happening too slowly at the CIA.
Goss said he would remain at the helm of the CIA for the "next few weeks" to oversee the transition to a new director.
Former critic led shake-up
Goss, 67, a former CIA officer and Republican congressman from Florida, was tapped by Bush in June 2004 to come in and shake up the agency at a time when its performance was under intense scrutiny due to intelligence failures prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the invasion of Iraq.
Some of the most blistering criticism came in a report from the House Intelligence Committee — which Goss then chaired — that called the CIA "dysfunctional."
But two months after Goss was nominated, Bush asked Congress to implement a recommendation from the 9/11 commission to create an overall national intelligence director, which would oversee the CIA and 14 other intelligence agencies — a change that diluted the authority of the CIA director.
Negroponte, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, was confirmed as national intelligence director in April 2005. After the restructuring, Bush began receiving his daily intelligence briefings from Negroponte rather than Goss.
Goss made good on his promise to shake up the CIA, bringing in his own management team to implement changes. A number of top CIA officials left during the transition, after personality and policy clashes with Goss’ lieutenants.
However, in October, the White House decided to make Goss the manager of all U.S. human intelligence-gathering operations, which was widely seen as a way to restore some of the prestige the CIA lost after Congress created the post of national intelligence director. (Full story)
Former intelligence officials told CNN that many people inside the CIA are "relieved" that Goss and his aides — called "the Gosslings" by CIA insiders — are going, a reflection of the ill will that still persists over the earlier departures of senior officials.
Goss’ abrupt resignation Friday took Washington by surprise. Reporters were summoned in early afternoon to the Oval Office, where Bush — with the CIA director seated next to him — announced the change.
No reason was given for Goss’ resignation, but the White House has been in the midst of an administration shakeup since Josh Bolten took over as chief of staff.
"[Goss] offered his resignation as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I’ve accepted it," Bush said.
"Porter’s tenure at the CIA was one of transition, where he’s helped his agency become integrated into the intelligence community," the president said. "That was a tough job, and he’s led ably." (Watch Bush’s Oval Office announcement — 2:38)
Goss thanked Bush for the "very distinct honor and privilege" of serving as director of the CIA, and he described the agency as now being "on a very even keel."
"It’s sailing well," Goss said. "I honestly believe that we have improved dramatically your goals for our nation’s intelligence capabilities, which are, in fact, the things that I think that are keeping us safe."
Negroponte was in the Oval Office when the resignation was announced, but he did not speak.
A senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee told CNN that lawmakers and congressional staffers were caught off guard by the "bizarrely sudden" resignation.
Goss Forced Out as CIA Director; Gen. Hayden Is Likely Successor
By Dafna Linzer and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 6, 2006; Page A01
Porter J. Goss was forced to step down yesterday as CIA director, ending a turbulent 18-month tenure marked by an exodus of some of the agency’s top talent and growing White House dissatisfaction with his leadership during a time of war.
The likely successor to Goss is Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and now deputy to Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, senior administration officials said. He could be named as soon as Monday.
Seated next to President Bush in the Oval Office, Goss, a Republican congressman from Florida before he took over the CIA, said he was "stepping aside" but gave no reason for the departure. Bush, who did not name a successor, said he had accepted the resignation and thanked Goss for his service.
"Porter’s tenure at the CIA was one of transition, where he’s helped this agency become integrated into . . . the intelligence community," Bush said. "That was a tough job, and he’s led ably." Bush said he had developed a "very close personal relationship" with Goss, who succeeded George J. Tenet in September 2004.
But senior administration officials said Bush had lost confidence in Goss, 67, almost from the beginning and decided months ago to replace him. In what was described as a difficult meeting in April with Negroponte, Goss was told to prepare to leave by May, according to several officials with knowledge of the conversation.
"There has been an open conversation for a few weeks, through Negroponte, with the acknowledgment of the president" about replacing Goss, said a senior White House official who discussed the internal deliberations on the condition of anonymity. Another senior White House official said Goss had always been viewed as a "transitional figure" who would leave by year’s end. His departure was accelerated when Bush shook up his White House staff in hopes of beginning a political turnaround.
Members of Congress privately predicted that Hayden, who once enjoyed tremendous support on the Hill, would face a contentious confirmation process over the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. Other sensitive issues, such as the existence of secret prisons abroad for terrorism suspects, also are likely to arise.
"The calculus is that would be true about anybody at this point. Given all the other stuff, like secret prisons, the confirmation is going to be tough for anybody," a senior administration official said.
Another candidate mentioned along with Hayden is Mary Margaret Graham, who was transferred from CIA headquarters after clashing with Goss’s staff. She now coordinates intelligence collection for Negroponte. Homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend, a rumored potential candidate, is not in the running, officials said.
Negroponte became intelligence czar last year in a job created by Congress when it overhauled the nation’s intelligence agencies in response to their failure to prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Negroponte’s role as the government’s senior coordinator overseeing a web of intelligence agencies diminished Goss’s job.
Goss was stripped of the title of director of central intelligence, which had been held by his predecessors in addition to the title of CIA director, and many of the duties were taken over by Negroponte. But Negroponte, a career ambassador whose last two posts were at the United Nations and in Iraq, has been under pressure from Congress in recent weeks to demonstrate that he is in charge of the intelligence community and able to make tough decisions.
Goss and Negroponte had been friends for years and were fraternity brothers at Yale, where they graduated in 1960. But turf battles erupted as Negroponte’s operation grew and Goss was embattled within his own agency, where some officers viewed him as staunchly partisan and politically weak.
Negroponte replaced Goss in presiding over the president’s daily intelligence briefing, and he worked to bring CIA personnel and some of its analytical functions into his growing operations. Those steps quickly put him at odds with his friend. Privately, Goss’s associates said the two men clashed with increasing frequency in recent months, and they blamed Negroponte for hurting Goss’s reputation with the president.
But administration officials said Goss never forged a strong relationship with Bush. "It just didn’t click," one official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Goss’s reserved personality and inability to master details of intelligence activities dampened the atmosphere of the president’s morning intelligence briefing, which had been a central feature of the close relationship between Bush and Tenet. In one of his early interviews, Goss complained that he was spending hours preparing for the Oval Office sessions.
"Once Negroponte came in and Porter was no longer doing the president’s daily briefings, he lost the opportunity to build the kind of relationship with the president that other directors had," said Mark Lowenthal, who was a senior adviser to Tenet and briefly to Goss before leaving the agency in March 2005.
Internally, Goss struggled to articulate a vision for an agency reeling from the intelligence failures of 9/11 and Iraq before the March 2003 invasion, current and former colleagues said. And Goss could not overcome a reputation as a partisan politician who worked congressional hours and appeared disinterested in his overseas intelligence counterparts. Goss also caused waves at the agency in dealing with complaints about his chief of staff, Patrick Murray. During a tense staff meeting, Goss told agency employees he did not handle personnel matters, according to people who attended.
In Goss’s first days in office, his appointment of Michael Kostiw as executive director ended after it became public that Kostiw had been forced to leave the CIA under a cloud 20 years earlier. The subsequent search at the agency to find who leaked the information about Kostiw’s past led the top two officers in the agency’s clandestine service to resign in protest.
Kostiw’s replacement, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, is the subject of a review by the CIA’s inspector general. The agency is examining whether Foggo arranged for any contracts to be granted to companies associated with Brent R. Wilkes, a contractor and longtime friend of Foggo’s who had connections to Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.).
Cunningham left Congress and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for corruption. Foggo has said he has done nothing improper, and the agency has said the review is standard practice in such situations, not an indication of any wrongdoing. After Goss’s announcement yesterday, Foggo told colleagues that he will resign next week. Last week, the agency confirmed that Foggo attended private poker games with Wilkes at a Washington hotel.
Over Goss’s 18 months, more than a dozen senior officials — several of whom were promoted under Goss — resigned, retired early or requested reassignment. Robert Richer, who was head of the Near East division, served less than a year as the No. 2 official in the clandestine service before quitting in frustration over Goss’s leadership last November. Richer then spent several days privately sharing his concerns with senior congressional leaders and Negroponte.
In the clandestine service alone, Goss lost one director, two deputy directors and at least a dozen department heads, station chiefs and division directors, many with the key language skills and experience he has said the agency needs. The agency is on its third counterterrorism chief since Goss arrived.
Goss was a young CIA case officer in the 1960s before entering Republican politics in the wealthy Florida community of Sanibel. He was elected to Congress and eventually became the chairman of the House intelligence panel. He had been preparing to retire from public service and spend more time on a family farm in Virginia when he was asked by Vice President Cheney to stay as chairman after the 2001 attacks. When Tenet resigned in mid-2004, Goss was nominated to succeed him.
Republicans joined Bush yesterday in thanking Goss but did not praise his tenure. Democrats said his leadership had been a failure.
"Regrettably, Porter Goss’s tenure as director of the CIA was a tumultuous one," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), senior Democrat on the intelligence panel. "We must have a leader with strong credentials, a demonstrated track record of independence and objectivity, and the ability to bring much needed harmony within the ranks."
Staff writers Dana Priest, Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.