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We Need a Nonpartisan Spy Chief

Wednesday, September 22, 2004; Page A30

Any hope for nonpartisan intelligence analysis will die with the appointment of Rep. Porter J. Goss to head the CIA [news story, Sept. 15]. With all due respect for Mr. Goss's service, he has been a leading Republican politico for 15 years and has attacked John F. Kerry's fitness to lead the nation. That's not an appropriate track record to lead a nonpartisan office.

Intelligence failures in recent years have been some of the greatest ever: the Sept. 11 attacks, India and Pakistan becoming nuclear powers, Iran seeking nuclear weapons, the Iraqi insurrection, the lack of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The list goes on. The point is that in Iraq, intelligence was politicized. Now a political operative may be put in charge of the CIA.

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Further, Mr. Goss refused to answer questions in a confirmation hearing that he considered politically difficult and obfuscated in his answers. That is not the standard of accountability we need in an intelligence agency.

SEAN T. BICKERTON

New York


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