Hayden to Replace Goss at CIA?

The hot rumor overnight is that Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and former NSA head Michael Hayden is the leading candidate to replace suddenly ousted Porter Goss as CIA Director (Note: Not as DCI; that second hat was stripped when the National Intelligence Director position was created.)

Mike Allen and Timothy Burger at TIME were apparently first.

Though Hayden, who has a close rapport with Vice President Cheney, has not been formally offered the job, he is the leading candidate and the announcement is planned for Monday at the White House, the sources said. The President frequently extends a formal offer immediately before an announcement, to cut down on leaks and allow for last-minute developments.

White House officials had hoped to announce Goss’s departure and Hayden’s nomination at the same time but Goss, who resigned under pressure, balked at that kind of choreography. “He said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s go ahead and do it,” a senior administration official said.

Bush and Goss appeared together along with Negroponte in the Oval Office after lunch Friday in a terse, three-minute ceremony announced with just 50 minutes’ notice. A senior administration official said Negroponte, with the blessing of the White House, began talking with Goss about leaving a couple of weeks ago. “The creation of the DNI has been a transformational and very tumultuous time for the intelligence community and particularly the CIA,” the senior administration official said. “When you ask somebody to do so much transformational change, often it makes sense to let somebody then take the agency forward from there.”


The Director of Central Intelligence, a post of legendary power and intrigue during the Cold War, has been partially eclipsed by the Director of National Intelligence position that was created as part of a restructuring in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Since then neither Goss nor John D. Negroponte, the first occupant of the new DNI position, ever seemed comfortable with the arrangement, which notably shifted the responsibilities of delivering the daily intelligence briefing to the President to Negroponte.

The departure was the culmination of a turf war between Goss and Negroponte. A U.S. official told TIME that he thought Goss “was standing up for the Central Intelligence Agency” and was concerned “that some of the core capabilities of the Agency that let it accomplish its mission might be eroded with the growth of the DNI apparatus.”

AP’s Katherine Shrader apparently achieved independent confirmation and adds,

Knowledgeable Republicans said Friday night that Hayden was thought to top Bush’s short list of candidates to replace Goss. Among others mentioned were Bush’s homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend; David Shedd, Negroponte’s chief of staff; and Mary Margaret Graham, Negroponte’s deputy for intelligence collection.

It was not clear why Goss resigned so unexpectedly. An intelligence official, speaking only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his position, said Goss had stood up for the agency when there were differences with Negroponte’s office, which was created about a year ago.

Agency officials dismissed suggestions that the resignation was tied to controversy surrounding the CIA’s executive director, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. The FBI is investigating whether Foggo’s longtime friend, defense contractor Brent Wilkes, provided prostitutes, limousines and hotel suites to a California congressman who pleaded guilty to taking bribes from Wilkes and others in exchange for government contracts.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Goss’ resignation also was not related to the recent firing of a CIA officer the director said had unauthorized contacts with the press — a firing that found support within the agency and the White House.

Spook 86 thinks this game of musical chairs “suggests that Negroponte is continuing to consoliate his power as DNI. When Negoponte first assumed the DNI post last April, there was concern that he would be unable to effectively control the nation’s sprawling intelligence community. Goss’s resignation suggests that Negroponte wants to assume more direct control over the CIA.”

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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. Jim Wrenn says:

    Regarding the current Beltway-Media Rumors being asserted by the Formerly Dominant Media (FDM) that Hayden will replace Goss, I think it’s more likely to be Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts.

  2. legion says:

    I think Spook86 is off his rocker. The idea that Goss’ resignation, so suddenly, was actually ‘a long time building’ holds absolutely no water. It’s a painfully transparent attempt to come up with another – any other – reason besides the recent revelations about prostitutes, etc. at Foggo’s place & the Watergate.

    If there was any credibility to that defense, the Administration would’ve had a better replacement in the wings than Hayden, who now has to go through confirmation hearings about the activities of the NSA during his watch (remember those wiretaps, anyone?)

    Frankly, I think a msjor support beam just got yanked out of Bush’s house of cards…

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Legion, despite all the squawking by the leftists, no one yet has proven that Bush or the NSA has broken any applicable laws. Just because the anti Bush media doesn’t like it, doesn’t make these acts illegal. That is up to the courts, not you idiots.