November 25, 2004


2 Top Officials Are Reported to Quit C.I.A. (DOUGLAS JEHL, 11/25/04, NY Times)

Two more senior officials of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine service are stepping down, intelligence officials said Wednesday, in the latest sign of upheaval in the agency under its new chief, Porter J. Goss.

As the chiefs of the Europe and Far East divisions, the two officials have headed spying operations in some of the most important regions of the world and were among a group known as the barons in the highest level of clandestine service, the Directorate of Operations. [...]

Last week, President Bush directed Mr. Goss to draw up detailed plans in 90 days for a major overhaul of the agency, to address shortcomings that have become evident with intelligence failures related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and prewar assessments of Iraq.

The directive included a call for 50 percent increases in crucial operations and analytical personnel, a goal that the agency had already set in a five-year strategic plan drafted in December under George J. Tenet, the previous director of central intelligence. Many of the agency's top officials, including John E. McLaughlin, the deputy director, and A. B. Krongard, the No. 3 official, have stepped down or announced plans to do so since Mr. Goss took office in September. The upheaval has been most extensive in the operations directorate, made up of spies and spymasters who have made careers out of stealing secrets.

The clandestine service is a proud closed fraternity and one that sees itself as fiercely loyal and not risk-averse. It is also a group that has recoiled in recent weeks at the criticisms leveled at the agency, including comments this month from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who accused the agency of acting "almost as a rogue" institution.

When bureaucrats start calling themselves "barons" they've outlived any usefulness they may ever have had.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2004 10:00 AM

Words like 'rogue' and 'dysfunctional' are not nearly strong enough when discussing the CIA.

Posted by: Bart at November 25, 2004 10:06 AM

Democratic society cannot exist in the face of a military completely under civilian control.

The same goes completely for the CIA. The agency's conduct over the course of the election, if indulged in by military officers, would rightly have been considered a clear and present danger to the Republic.

It either needs bringing to heel, or complete dismantling.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 25, 2004 1:35 PM


I think you meant to say that the military and the intelligence services need to be under civilian control. I would agree except that I think both need to be infused with military discipline.

Posted by: Bart at November 25, 2004 4:55 PM