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Changing of the Guard at the CIA

Goss's Shake-Ups Leave Some Questioning Agency's Role

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 6, 2005; Page A03

With the departure next month of the CIA's deputy director for intelligence, Jami A. Miscik, CIA Director Porter J. Goss will have largely completed the replacement of top agency officials that his aides had predicted to colleagues when they took control in October.

About 20 senior CIA officials have resigned or retired since Goss, the former chairman of the House intelligence committee, left Congress to become director of the agency, bringing with him to Langley four GOP aides from Capitol Hill. Only one member of the leadership team put together by former CIA director George J. Tenet remains -- Donald M. Kerr, deputy director for science and technology.

The uproar at CIA headquarters caused by the personnel moves, which some saw as partisan in nature, has died down for now, and the pace of departures has slowed. That is partly because case officers and analysts are waiting to see whether Goss remains at the CIA or moves up to the new position of director of national intelligence (DNI), created last month by legislation aimed at reorganizing the U.S. intelligence system.

Meanwhile, officials say Goss has selected John Kringen, a longtime CIA officer, to become Miscik's replacement. The move may signal that Goss has "turned inward" for new appointments, "rather than going outside as once appeared to be the case," a former senior agency official said this week. Kringen is head of the CIA's crime and narcotics center, and had served in several geographical areas as a CIA analyst and manager.

Goss went outside the CIA for a new public affairs chief, choosing Jennifer Millerwise, who starts Monday. She was deputy communications director of the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, for several years before that was press secretary for Vice President Cheney and earlier worked in Goss's office on Capitol Hill.

Intelligence officials say Goss and his emerging leadership team -- including the former Capitol Hill aides -- have not made clear how they intend to change CIA policies and programs.

But there may be clues in the work Goss and his aides did last summer on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee's report on the fiscal 2005 intelligence authorization bill included two particularly controversial recommendations for changing the way the CIA does business.

The first was to have analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence put less emphasis on writing short, often overnight, spot reports to the president and other policymakers on intelligence. Rather, the report said, analysts should focus on writing longer-range, broader strategic estimates.

As the report put it, "Instead of {grv}'chasing CNN,' as the committee has observed in the past, the DI should be devoting much more of its resources to doing the kind of all-source, in-depth analysis that cannot, and is not, being done elsewhere in government or through media outlets."

A former senior intelligence official questioned that approach in an interview last week: "The president, who is CIA's primary customer, is more worried about 2005 than he is 2020." If analysts "don't get things like today's threat from terrorism nailed down in the near term," he added, "it won't matter how they look at matters in Russia or China that are five, 10 and 20 years off."

Tenet, then CIA director, reorganized the daily morning intelligence report given to President Bush and his top advisers around quick summaries of one or two pages each. They were designed to leave time during the president's regular half-hour Oval Office meeting for discussion or questions about items that caught the president's interest.

Goss, who now does the White House morning meeting when the president is in town, has not had time to develop the same background on intelligence issues that Tenet brought to those sessions after five years on the job, and he has not had the same rapport with Bush, administration and intelligence sources said.

Richard J. Kerr, a former deputy CIA director who once ran the DI, said in a recent interview that there is "too much" emphasis on overnight reporting of current intelligence. But he said good analysts could handle both the short- and long-term work. He also recalled that during the Cold War and afterward, intelligence collection, primarily by technical means such as satellites, would focus for a week on a single strategic problem. That would yield valuable information that analysts could use to shed new light on issues.

"We used to 'blitz' a target such as who was developing what missiles years ago and learned a lot we were not previously aware of," Kerr said.

The second significant but difficult-to-enact change that the Goss team promoted on Capitol Hill was getting analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence much more involved in recruiting and directing agents as well as choosing targets for intelligence collection. Those decisions have traditionally been made by the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO), which conducts the agency's spying and collection efforts, and is separate from the DI, where information is analyzed.

"Senior DI managers still do not have the ability to drive collection priorities, despite past committee exhortations about the urgency of fixing this problem, and the CIA's own stated goals," the committee report said.

With the departure late last year of the DO's two top officials, who left after clashing with the Goss team, the way may be open to get the DI more involved in setting collection priorities.

Kerr said that "analysts should be much more involved driving the collection," including decisions about recruitment of sources. "The DO needs to be more intimate with analysts, but good analysts in the past have found a way to worm their way into the [collection] system," he added.

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