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August 15, 2004: Say you can't do the job and it's yours...

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This item has been in the news for a few days. And it was a big deal on French television Friday evening.

Unfit for Bottom? Then Try the Top
[no byline], The New York Times, August 13, 2004

The bare bones -


Working for the Central Intelligence Agency is not for everybody. Just ask Porter J. Goss, a onetime covert operative.

In a brief video clip posted Thursday on Michael Moore's Web site, www.michaelmoore.com, Mr. Goss says he would not be able to get a job with the modern-day C.I.A.

"I am not qualified," says Mr. Goss, President Bush's nominee to run the agency. "I don't have the language skills. I, 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, 'Dad, you got to get better on your computer.' "

The clip was taken from an interview conducted with Mr. Goss on March 3, 2004, for Mr. Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11." Mr. Goss, 65, appears briefly in the film, but the excerpt on the Web site does not.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Goss, Julie Almacy, said his comments had concerned the skills needed to be an operative.

"He's certainly qualified to be the director," Ms. Almacy said. "He's talking about a case officer."



UPI covers it this way -


Washington, DC, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The prospect of Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., facing a tough confirmation has grown with news he once said he was not qualified for a job in the agency.

In March Goss told left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore: "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."

Goss said that was because he lacked the language and computer skills needed now, the New York Daily News reported. …


The BBC has this -


US Congressman Porter Goss, nominated to be the new director of the CIA, may be talking himself out of the job, according to film-maker Michael Moore.

Moore, who directed the film Fahrenheit 9/11, has released an interview with Mr Goss in which he says he lacks the qualifications for the top spy post.

"I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified," Mr Goss told Moore's production company in March.

The White House has dismissed the interview as "ridiculous hearsay".

The interview did not make it into the final edit of the film, which criticises President George W Bush's policy on Iraq.

But following Mr Goss's nomination by the president, Moore has released the transcript and video excerpt on his website. …


Well, it had to hit France, right?

In a Friday night email from Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, he notes -


This might be 'old' news by now. In any case, my report isn't complete because I wasn't paying attention. This is from tonight's France-3 evening TV-news, broadcast between 19:30 and 20:00. (No TV news on France-2 tonight on account of showing the curtain-riser in Athens.)

Starts off kind of like this - Bush announced yesterday or the day before some dude was going to become CIA head. He's the best, the brightest, blah blah.

France-3 says, 'But!' there's this bit of video tape, left out of Moore's '9/11,' shot last April (2004), where this same dude says he's incompetent to run the CIA - absolutely incapable of doing it.

I didn't see or hear the whole report. The guy in question was talking in English, while French TV-news ran the audio of the French translation over him.

(I've since heard that this is about an old CIA hand, who was operating in the '70s or '80s. But in Moore's video taped in April, the guy says there's no way he can begin to run the CIA.)

What did he say the other day when Bush showed him off to the White House press corps?


Goss said little.  Bush said he was wonderful.

Some folks don’t think so -


During an announcement made in the White House Rose Garden, Bush described Goss, 65, a Florida Republican as "the right man with strong experience in intelligence and in fighting against terrorism."

This was immediately disputed by two former senior agents.

"When was he in the CIA?" asked former top CIA Iraq analyst Judith Yaphe of Goss's agency career.

When told that Goss had been a case officer from the mid-1960s until 1971, dealing with Latin America, Yaphe said: "But that is so long ago. It's not as if the cultures at the agency now were anywhere near what they were back then. I would worry about his genuine depth of knowledge."

Yaphe said weeks ago Goss deliberately made statements that undercut Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin, adding, "John is a decent, well-meaning man, and Goss really screwed him."

… Former CIA agent Larry Johnson also questioned Goss's qualifications. "There is one thing Goss didn't really do for the last several years -- he didn't chair the House Intelligence Committee, in spite of what his resume claims," said Johnson. "Instead, he did the dead man's float."

Johnson said Goss did not have the experience claimed. Goss did not "push through real reforms, for example, getting more funding for badly clandestine assets. He didn't do any of it."

Former CIA Counter-terrorism Chief Vince Cannistraro agreed: "Goss has never been very distinguished, but he's protected. He's a Bush loyalist and has been in the forefront of those who have tried to place the major blame for the 9/11 attacks on the agency."

… Goss was born in Connecticut, graduating from Yale in 1960, according to his office bio. He went to work for U.S. Army intelligence and after two years, moved to the CIA. He left the agency in 1971, was active in business, and in 1989 was elected to Congress where he has remained. He is currently chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the bio says.

Goss's appointment comes at an awkward time. His nomination, which must be approved by the Senate, comes as Bush is expected to act on a number of executive orders for intelligence reform recommendations from the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks.

Yaphe, who thinks Goss would be too partisan said: "This whole appointment is a cheap political trick. One of the recommendations of the commission is that no political appointee be made director. But this is so clearly political. If Goss isn't a political appointee, than I don't know what is."


Business is usual.

On 30 January 1976 Gerald Ford made George Bush’s father, who later became the first President Bush, the CIA director, where George Herbert Walker Bush stayed up to 20 January 1977 – all of eleven months.

George Herbert Walker Bush came to that post directly from his job as head of the Republican National Committee.  Some folks see the job as Director of Central Intelligence as a political position – as you want information you like, not information that upsets you.

Well, Carter became president and that was that.

Oh, don’t feel sorry for George Herbert Walker Bush.  After leaving the CIA in 1977 he was made director of Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals by Dan Quayle’s father and family, who owned controlling interest in the Lilly company and the Indianapolis Star.  And it all came out just fine – Bush then got to be president and young Dan got the vice presidency.

Anyway, now Porter Goss is the man of the hour.  The Democrats won’t oppose him.  Not that they don’t want to – but they don’t have the votes in the Senate and they’d just look bad by raising a fuss in these trying times.

Let the French point out the issues on the Friday night news in Paris.  Our press gave up, and we gave up, a long time ago.  This is our leader.

Ric in Paris says this -


Considering that many think '9/11' was a failure of intelligence, of spy craft, Bush's choice is astonishing.

Let the CIA candidate speak for himself, as he did to Michael 'Born Troublemaker' Moore.


Well, he spoke, and everyone shrugged.  Let him have the job.


If Kerry is elected he can fire Goss, just as Carter fired George Herbert Walker Bush to bring in someone without a political agenda to fulfill.  If Bush wins?  He will have in place a CIA director who tells Bush what Bush wants to hear, just as George "Slam Dunk" Tenet did.  Call it continuity. 



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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