ZenPundit
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
 
GOSS AS DCI AND THE WRATH OF KHAN

President Bush nominated House Chairman Porter Goss (R-Fl) to be the next DCI. This was a good move from my perspective because as a former officer in the CIA's clandestine service during a war he understand what real HUMINT work entails. As Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence he has a superb grasp of the entire IC. Hopefully he also has the administrative talents as well though some of these can be delegated to the Deputy DCI. The fact that the Democratic Party's partisan hacks like Pelosi and Rockefeller object to Goss for being too qualified is itself an endorsement in my view.

The other day on Kevin Drum's site I defended, in a roundabout way, the Bush administration on the subject of the Khan leak. Well, as of today, I'm of the opinion that Tom Ridge is:

a) An idiot.

and

b) Should be fired.

He lacks both the qualifications and discretion to handle anything related to intelligence or national security. My impression now is that his office leaked Khan's name either out of pure incompetence or to bolster Ridge's Washington image during the last terror warning. The warning was justified, the leak was not required to support anything but the fragile ego of Mr. Ridge. I'm on the verge of throwing up my hands in utter disgust.

Additionally, my irritation is stoked by an acquaintence in Baghdad who worked for the CPA and now works for the Army ( or the Iraqi government, I'm not entirely clear as to his current status). In part, he wrote:

"Of course we DO know a great many things about what's going on here...but in the comedy/tragedy that is Iraq; we seem to stuggle to find someone to act on the info..the more we find out the less the Army seems to be able to react...which is very frustrating especially when you can see the next attack coming. What the Army is good at doing it cherry picking. If you are 100% sure that the information is solid they'll go out and act on it and take credit for the whole deal. Which isn't all that different from the real world I suppose...so maybe I'll just stop complaining about that

It's a bad sign in a war when the military is not inclined to act unless success is a foregone conclusion. It indicates a type of " kill the messenger- shift the blame " micromanagement by faraway civilians where military considerations in the field have become tertiary to domestic political concerns.

I feel about Bush today much like an abolitionist must have felt about Lincoln when the Union armies were being generaled by Hooker and Pope.

ADDENDUM: The Belmont Club has an antidote to my pessemistic frame of mind. Actually they selected a larger frame for their perspective.

UPDATE: Reports today indicate that Tom Ridge will be resigning after the election to pursue opportunities elsewhere. ( Hat tip to Ralph Luker at Cliopatria).

Gee... things are looking up.
 
Comments:
Ridge's desire to resign after the election was reported as far back as July 30 by the AP, which suggests the need to rethink your opinion as to why the leak was made -- not to mention your own need to pay a bit more attention to the news you're blogging on.
 
During the making of Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore interviewed Porter Goss, who Bush recently tapped to run the CIA. And what does Porter Goss have to say regarding his qualifications?

"It is true I was a case officer, clandestine services officer, and yes, I do understand the core mission of the business. But I couldn't get a job with the CIA today. I am not qualified. I don't have the language skills. You know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably, and I certainly don't have the technical skills, as my children remind me every day. "Daddy, Daddy, you gotta get better on your computer." And so the things you need to have, I don't have."

The video is located at http://www.michaelmoore.com/_media/qt/goss_2.mov
 
To anonymous:

Perhaps you are correct about Ridge though the Khan leak appears to have been made in context of justifying the terror warning. Even if Khan had been recognized as a double agent by al Qaida and was passing bad info, outing him was dumb.Presumably, an intelligence pro, as opposed to a political staffer, would have chosen to keep mum on Khan.

To Mark:

Goss was talking in terms of being a DO case officer today - where the demand would be candidates fluent in Middle Eastern languages, Korean, Chinese..etc. You don't need to be an Arabist to be DCI. Other
than Goss my favorite for the post would have been Gates.
 
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