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Pres. Bush Nominates Porter Goss As CIA Chief

BY Admin  August 10, 2004 at 10:45 AM EDT

Goss is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. If confirmed by the Senate as CIA chief, he would replace George Tenet, who resigned last month amid intense criticism of how the agency handled prewar intelligence in Iraq.

“Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence and in fighting against terrorism,” said President Bush Tuesday morning in the White House Rose Garden. “He is the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation’s history. The work of the CIA is vital to our security.”

Mr. Bush has said he embraces the major recommendations from the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including creating a national intelligence chief to oversee the activities of the CIA and 14 other intelligence agencies.

Neither the president nor Goss discussed the new organization. But both emphasized that Goss’ experience as an undercover CIA officer would help the agency bolster its ability to use spies, instead of just technology, to infiltrate terrorist networks, according to the Associated Press.

“I think every American knows the importance of getting the best possible intelligence we can get to our decision-makers,” said Goss at the Rose Garden announcement.

Goss had been considered the leading candidate for the position since Tenet left the CIA on July 11. John McLaughlin has been serving as acting director ever since.

The Connecticut-born Goss graduated from Yale in 1960 and launched a clandestine career, working for Army intelligence for two years and eventually the CIA’s most well-known division, the Directorate of Operations, the AP reported.

Although not revealing details of his pre-political career, Goss has said he was deployed in Miami during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

In the early 1970s, a nearly deadly staph infection forced him to retire to Sanibel, Fla., a coastal community where other retired CIA officers have made their home.

Gradually, Goss entered local politics and ran for the House in 1988. He planned to make his 2000 reelection bid his last, but decided to stay on after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He has served in Congress for 16 years, including eight as House intelligence chairman.

If confirmed, Goss would be the second congressman to become CIA director after former President George H.W. Bush.