President Bush Nominates Rep. Porter Goss as CIA Director
[Sorry, the video for this story has expired, but you can still read the transcript below. ]
RAY SUAREZ: The man President Bush chose as the new CIA Director, Republican Congressman Porter Goss, has been both a supporter and critic of the agency.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence and in the fight against terrorism. He knows the CIA inside and out.
He’s the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation’s history.
RAY SUAREZ: The president cited Goss’ lengthy career in intelligence. After graduating from Yale University in 1960, he served as an army intelligence officer, and then joined the CIA’s clandestine services in 1962.
He spent 16 years as a businessman and local politician in Florida, before running for the House in 1988. There, he’s chaired the House Intelligence Committee for the past seven years.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I’ve given Porter an essential mission to lead the agency for the challenges and threats of a dangerous new century. He is well-prepared for this mission.
He understands the importance of human intelligence. He was a CIA field officer on two continents. He’ll make sure that the men and women of the CIA have the capabilities and skills they need to penetrate the hard targets and denied areas and to get to know the enemy firsthand.
He also knows the importance of investing in technologies that allow us to look and listen better, and he will work to ensure the agency remains on the cutting edge of technological change.
His experience on Capitol Hill will serve him well at the CIA because he’s respected on both sides of the aisle, and because he understands the important role Congress must play in the effort to improve our nation’s intelligence capabilities.
RAY SUAREZ: In his remarks, Goss praised the people who work for the CIA Today.
REP. PORTER GOSS: I think every American knows the importance of the best possible intelligence we can get to our decision-makers. It is vital, as the president has well said.
What many Americans don’t realize is that we’ve got an awful lot of people around the globe doing very, very hard work, long hours in dangerous situations.
The essence of our intelligence capability is people, and we have some wonderful Americans doing a great job. I used to be part of them when I worked for CIA I’m very proud to be associated with them again, and I look forward to the challenges of the future.
RAY SUAREZ: Goss, who co-chaired the joint Congressional investigation into the 9/11 terror attacks, has also held hearings on the 9/11 Commission’s report.
He’s been skeptical of timing and scope of some of the Commission’s recommendations, including creating a new post of intelligence czar. That job could lessen the importance of the CIA director.
REP. PORTER GOSS: We cannot afford to make changes blindly or in an unnecessary haste. We can ill afford to rush to judgment, any more than we can tolerate needless delay.
These issues are too critical. We must pay attention to the details.
RAY SUAREZ: Earlier this summer, Goss stirred partisan rancor when he read on the House floor a quote from Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
REP PORTER GOSS: And I quote: Now that that struggle, the Cold War, is over, why is it that our vast intelligence apparatus continues to grow?
Now, that kind of statement just before no votes on supporting the intelligence community happens to have been made by such distinguished members of the Congress as Sen. John Kerry.
RAY SUAREZ: That prompted some Democrats, such as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Jay Rockefeller of the intelligence committee, to declare Goss was too partisan to head the agency.
During a press conference today, Congresswoman Pelosi stopped short of saying she would oppose the nomination.
REP. NANCY PELOSI: So my view is that, let the Senate proceed with what they are doing. I think the one important thing about intelligence, as I just said in my previous answer, is you must keep the politics out of intelligence.
I’m not sure that that has been done to this point in this recommendation.
RAY SUAREZ: Goss has also been critical of the CIA. Just two months ago, he warned that the CIA was headed “over a proverbial cliff.”
And about the same time, when his Intelligence Committee authorized the CIA’s budget for the coming year, they issued a report saying the agency’s problems were the result of mismanagement, not just budget cuts in previous decades.
The report read: “For too long the CIA has been ignoring its core mission activities. There is a dysfunctional denial of any need for corrective action.”
RAY SUAREZ: The Senate is expected to take up Goss’ nomination when it returns from its summer recess after Labor Day.