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U.S.: CIA Head Resigns After Less Than Two Years On The Job

Porter Goss (left) shakes hands with President Bush after resigning (AFP) The head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has resigned, after less than two years on the job. No reason was given for Porter Goss's abrupt departure. But it comes after reported tensions between Goss and his boss, national intelligence director John Negroponte.

PRAGUE, May 6, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- In August 2004, the CIA was battered by criticism over intelligence failures related to the September 11, 2001, attacks and the Iraq war.

President George W. Bush nominated Porter Goss as the man he hoped would rebuild the agency.

"Porter Goss brings a broad experience to this critical job. He is a former army intelligence officer with a decade of experience in the CIA's clandestine service. He knows the agency and he knows what is needed to strengthen it," Bush said.

But less than two years later, Goss's mission at the CIA is over.


Bush made the announcement at the White House on May 5, saying Goss offered his resignation and he accepted it.

Goss offered no explanation for his resignation. Standing next to Bush, he said he was leaving the CIA "on a very even keel, it's sailing well."

"I would like to report back to you that I believe the agency is [doing very well]. I honestly believe that we have improved, dramatically, your goals for our nation's intelligence capabilities, which are, in fact, the things that I think are keeping us very safe, and I honestly would report to you, sir, that we are safer for your efforts, your leadership, and for the men and women in the [intelligence] community [who] are working so hard and doing so well," Goss said.


But Goss's short tenure has been difficult, and he's had his critics.

He was apparently disliked by some clandestine officers, and many senior staff resigned.

There were tensions, too, after reforms made the CIA subordinate to a newly created post, the director of national intelligence.

Goss reportedly had differences with the man appointed to that post, John Negroponte -- particularly after Negroponte decided to move many CIA analysts to another intelligence body.

Whatever the reason for Goss's departure, senior administration officials told "The Washington Post" the move had been decided months ago.

With the backing of the White House, the daily said, Negroponte met Goss last month and told him it was time to leave.

This is the White House's third major personnel move in just over a month, in a shake-up widely seen as an effort to boost Bush's flagging public support.

Now the president has the challenge of finding someone to replace Goss. Media speculation has pointed to one potential candidate -- Air Force General Michael Hayden, a top deputy to Goss's former boss, Negroponte.

(compiled from agency reports)