'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Porter Goss is Not a Partisan Prick -- He Just Plays One in the House Intelligence Committee 

So let me get this straight ... the mainstream story is that Tenet resigned at least partially because of the agency's failure to predict and stop the 9/11 attack. (I say "the mainstream story" because what's often swept under the rug is the extent to which the CIA attempted to warn the Bush administration about the severity of the threat from radical Islamicists) Our government's failure to predict and stop 9/11 was dissected by a special commission. Before that commission Tenet said things like

We made mistakes. Our failure to watchlist al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar in a timely manner—or the FBI’s inability to find them in the narrow window of time afforded them—showed systemic weaknesses and the lack of redundancy.

supporting the idea that such mistakes were the sort of thing that led to his resignation.

And now they want to replace Tenet with a guy who openly opposed the commission, the investigation, and the "uproar" over the failure to stop the terrorist attack?

Here's Porter Goss on the uproar over the failings of various branches of government that led to 9/11, on the whole "what did the president know and when did he know it?" hubbub:

The only thing that this uproar does is give aid and comfort to the enemy and I don't think there's anybody who wants to give aid and comfort to the terrorists.

Here's CNN on Goss opposing to creation of the commission:

Rep. Porter Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said there was no need for any new congressional inquiry because intelligence panels have already been reviewing the events leading up to the attacks. To date, he said, nothing has emerged to suggest that anyone in the government could have predicted them.

Interestingly, Goss was railing against the uproar and opposing the commission at a time when he was making statements like:

Should we have known [about 9/11]? Yes, we should have. Could we have known? Yes, I believe we could have because of the hard targets [that CIA operatives were tracking] ... You read the file and you say, why didn‘t we listen?

which clearly indicates the partisan nature of his opposition to the creation of the commission. He believed an investigation was warranted but not by an independent commission if the White House didn't want one. He believed that 9/11 could have been prevented but if the uproar over this fact seemed to be affecting the president's popularity it was aiding and comforting terrorists. Of course, this was all before the White House realized that the 9/11 commission was a good thing and got behind it; it turned out to be a good thing because it could serve as another instrument with which to scapegoat the CIA like the Kay report in the case of the nonexistent WMD's. Presumably Goss supports the existence of the commission now, meaning he flip-flopped in synchronization with the White House.

Was he a sock puppet for the White House in the House Intelligence Committee? Here's how Ray McGovern characterized Goss' contribution as chairman of the committee:

On the House side, of course, you’ve got Porter Goss, who is a CIA alumnus. Porter Goss’ main contribution last year to the joint committee investigating 9/11 was to sic the FBI on members of that committee, at the direction of who? Dick Cheney. Goss admits this. He got a call from Dick Cheney, and he was “chagrined” in Goss’ word that he was upbraided by Dick Cheney for leaks coming out of the committee. He then persuaded the innocent Bob Graham to go with him to the FBI and ask the Bureau to investigate the members of that committee. Polygraphs and everything were involved. That’s the first time something like that has ever happened.

So the new Director of the CIA will be a guy who flip-flops in time with the president and jumps through hoops when the vice-president asks him to. I think Fat Karl made a really good choice.

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