I'm going to think on this Goss business over the weekend. I wonder what is going on here ? This appears to have been a surprise...presumably the President knew before today, but how much before ?
Thinking aloud, I wonder if this has anything to do with the McCarthy business ? Probably not, or only tangentally. I suspect, however, that being Director of Central Intelligence is not near so much fun as it used to be, now that, bureaucratically speaking, the DCI has been taken down a notch in favor of the Director of National Intelligence, Mr. John D. Negroponte, who is supposed to be the Czar of all US intelligence organizations, in Mr. Negroponte's words, ". . . effectively integrat. . .[ing] foreign, military and domestic intelligence in defense of the homeland and of United States interests abroad."
I have always been a big admirer of Mr. Negroponte, who has a long career in diplomacy and intelligence work, speaks multiple languges fluently. As Ambassador to Honduras during the war in El Salvador and the Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua, he was the point-man for the US side of the covert war going on in that part of the world.
With Goss out, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld under a cloud, and the distrust of this administration for anything the State Department has to say; Mr. Negroponte, long-time fixer and fixture in Republican administrations, is sitting pretty.
This used to be one of the DCI's functions. Now, the CIA chief is left presiding over an organization that seems hopelessly fractured; with several recent big failures on its books (the WMD case on Iraq, the failure to predict Saddam's reliance on paramilitaries, failure to predict 9/11); and an inability, it seems, to do much of anything beyond wage political wars with an administration that the middle-management of the organization clearly dislikes.
There are explanations for the intelligence failures, and much, but not all of the blame goes to factors beyond the CIA's control. But the organization seems to be too politicized. The covert war that the CIA leadership has waged on the Bush White House (as evidenced by Ms. McCarthy) is reason enough for a massive purge...but one would think that Mr. Goss would be leading it.
I wonder, in fact, if CIA has an organizational future ? It appears to me to be almost too badly damaged, too discredited, too riven by bureaucratic infighting to go on. I wonder if there is some kind of plan to replace it with...something else ?
Cui bono ? Bureaucratically at least, Mr. Negroponte. . .
UPDATE: (0814, 6 May), I was re-reading the Wikipedia article on Mr. Negroponte this morning. Wikipedia tells us that: "[a]ccording to The New York Times, Negroponte carried out 'the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua.'" The good old NYT: the little darlings at the editorial desk surely think that was a bad thing. If one of Negroponte's proteges is really taking over CIA, it's going to be so much fun watching the NYT go into serious outraged vapors mode.