C.I.A. ‘s Chief Analyst Fired

C.I.A. Deputy for Analysis Is Being Removed (NYT)

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s analytical branch is being forced to step down, former intelligence officials say, opening a major new chapter in a shakeup under Porter J. Goss, the agency’s chief. The official, Jami Miscik, the agency’s deputy director for intelligence, told her subordinates on Tuesday afternoon of her plan to step down on Feb. 4. A former intelligence official said that Ms. Miscik was told before Christmas that Mr. Goss wanted to make a change and that “the decision to depart was not hers.”

Ms. Miscik has headed analysis at the agency since 2002, a period in which prewar assessments of Iraq and its illicit weapons, which drew heavily on C.I.A. analysis, proved to be mistaken. Even before taking charge of the C.I.A., Mr. Goss, who was a congressman, and his closest associates had been openly critical of the directorate of intelligence, saying it suffered from poor leadership and was devoting too much effort to monitoring day-to-day developments rather than broad trends.

Ms. Miscik’s departure is the latest in a series of high-level ousters that have prompted unease within the C.I.A. since Mr. Goss took over as director of central intelligence in September. Of the officials who worked as top deputies to Mr. Goss’s predecessor, George J. Tenet, at least a half-dozen have been fired or have retired abruptly, including the agency’s No. 2 and No. 3 officials. Much of the top tier of the agency’s clandestine service is also gone.

I missed this move when it occured Monday. I’m insufficiently attuned to the inner workings of the Intelligence Community to know whether Miscik was doing a good job. The huge analytical mistakes that marked the early stages of the Iraq War occured on her watch but it’s difficult to say whether that’s her fault.

If nothing else, though, this will consolidate responsibility with Goss. Given that the entire leadership team will be of his choosing, the buck will definitely stop at his desk.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. IR says:

    You have to wonder whether there is a connection here to the leaking of the Status Report on Iraq just prior to the General Election as well.

  2. BigFire says:

    There are no wondering on my parts. Plenty of the DC bureaucrats actively wants Kerry administration. Just witness the recently deposed Chairman and CEO of FannyMae (who was counting on Kerry administration to bail them out of criminal investigation by SEC & Justice Dept). Since Bush will still be the President, they both were shown the door.

  3. Herb Ely says:

    James, Like you, I don’t know if Miscik was doing a good job. I’ve been retired and out of touch for too long. In a sense, George Tenet was right in saying that the case for WMD programs in Iraq was a “slam dunk”. Unfortunately, no one seems to have analyzed the status of these programs to see if they were mature enough to be a threat . The CIA did have analysts questioning the case for aluminum tubes supporting uranium enrichment . Analytical objections on BW programs were were overruled. Looks like a string of analytical failures to me.

  4. melior says:

    Buck? Stop? In the Bush Jr. Administration?

    Either you’re making a subtle jab, or you should really pass that over here, I want some of what you’re smoking.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    Hush, Melior; grownups are talking.