CIA Director Porter Goss Resigns

BREAKING NEWS: CIA Director Porter Goss has resigned, President Bush announced today. (CNN)

Quite surprising.

Update: AP adds a little more.

CIA Director Porter Goss has resigned, President Bush said Friday. Bush called Goss’ tenure one of transition. “He has led ably,” Bush said from the Oval Office. Goss, a former member of Congress, has “helped make this country a safer place,” Bush said. “We’ve got to win the war on terror.”

Said Goss: “I would like to report to you that the agency (CIA) is back on a very even keel and sailing well.”

No word yet on whether Goss quit (to “spend more time with my family” or some other reason) or was pushed out as part of the so-called shake-up being initiated by new Chief of Staff Josh Bolton.

Update 2: Chris Wallace of Fox News (television, no link) just indicated that he had spoken with someone inside the White House that gave him the strong impression this was Bolton’s doing.

The evolving AP story, as reported by WaPo with a 2:18 timestamp, also makes that assertion: “It was the latest move in a second-term shake-up of President Bush’s team.”

Update 3: Perhaps needless to say but I’ll say it anyway: One would hope something as important as the CIA Director’s job–still a big deal, even with the new National Intelligence Director structure–would be outside Bolton’s purview. Goss has ruffled a lot of feathers since taking over at CIA but the moves he’s made (that I’m aware of) are in the right direction.

WaPo’s William Branigan has been unable to gain any useful insights, either. NYT’s David Stout offers only that, “while there was no immediate suggestion that Mr. Goss had been pushed out, his departure comes soon after the new White House chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, told members of the administration that, if they were thinking of leaving by the end of the year, they should leave sooner than that.”

Maybe/maybe not related: A TIME report that CIA is frustrated that their influence has been diminished with the post-9/11 reform movement.

Ever since John Negroponte was appointed Director of National Intelligence a year ago and given the task of coordinating the nation’s myriad spy agencies, he has been diluting the power and prestige of the best known of them all, the Central Intelligence Agency. From day one, he supplanted the CIA Director as the President’s principal intelligence adviser, in charge of George W. Bush’s daily briefing. Other changes followed, all originating in the law that created the DNI — and all traumatic for CIA fans. But now, in a little noticed move, Negroponte is signaling that he is moving still more responsibility from the CIA to his own office, including control over the analysis of terrorist groups and threats.

Interesting, regardless.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    A convenient meme, James. Josh Bolton pushes out the DCI, effective immediately? I doubt it. The fact that Goss is knee-deep in the hookers scandal (or something of that ilk) seems much more likely. Remember, effective immediately.

  2. Bob Owens says:

    Is that the “fact,” Mark? Or is that just hopeful speculation?

  3. Ugh says:

    Seems more likely that he was at one of those parties that he just so recently emphatically denied. Doesn’t mean he partook in the assorted extra-curricular activities thouhg.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Interesting. The little bit I saw walking by the television earlier did not give the “effective immediately” line and was in fact speculating on how long he’ll stick around. Bill Kristol thought whatever it was came up within the last 24 hours.

  5. Mark says:

    Clearly not a “fact,” Bob. However, if indeed this is effective immediately, and I have since heard conflicting (or at least non-definitive) answers to that question, then methinks something definitely stinks. Stay tuned, I guess.

  6. Ugh says:

    Other conspiracy theory:

    Resigning to run for Senate in Florida after Katherine Harris gets thrown under the bus.

    Less of a conspiracy:

    He was diagnosed with a fatal disease and resigning for that reason, which would be too much of a cliche these days (“health reasons” or “spend more time with family”) for people to swallow. This would take care of the effective immediately point.

  7. ken says:

    Porter Goss resigned because he was involved witrh prostitutes and for arranging corrupt contracts for conservative republican cronies.

  8. legion says:

    Even with the creation of the Director of Nat’l Intel position, CIA Director is an incredibly important job. the fact that Goss might step down, with no warning and no ready successor for such a high-profile spot, definitely swings the pendulum in the direction of “Oh snap – I’m about to be indicted!”…

    Not proven, of course, but definitely not good news for Bush.

  9. GoodnewsforBush says:

    Why go with the Presidential briefers? Powell’s was garbage and so was Bush’s. The briefer is no longer CIA so they’re gone?

    Goss left because CIA is going to be abolished by Congress.