In this statement, which I received from a friend on the Senate Republican Policy Committee, Porter Goss states:
As the flagship component
CIA is, of course, a part of the Executive Branch primarily as a capabilities component. We do not make policy, though we do inform those who make it. We avoid political involvement, especially political partisanship.
We are a secret Agency. Of necessity, we must assiduously follow the law to honor the trust placed upon us. We have rules to govern our conduct of business and rules designed to facilitate our mission’s success and to build public confidence.
Since 9/11 everything has changed. The IC and its people have been relentlessly scrutinized and criticized. Intelligence related issues have become the fodder of partisan food fights and turf-power skirmishes. All the while, the demand for our services and products against a ruthless and unconventional enemy has expanded geometrically and we are expected to deliver — instantly. We have reason to be proud of our achievements and we need to be smarter about how we do our work in this “operational climate.”
A couple of thoughts.
First, the fellow who sent this to me, while a very good guy, called this “DCI Porter Goss’ 11/15 excellent speech to CIA employees.” We all engage in spin to some degree — but this was a staff memo written by the new Director of Central Intelligence to a wary and skeiptical staff. Excellent or not, Goss is sending signals to his people — just as the RPC is sending signals to those Republican staffers on the hill who received and read this.
The Republican Policy Committee is sending a note to Republicans with statements by Goss that the job of The Agency is not a political one (something with which I agree.)
But seriously — the RPC is using this statement in a partisan manner, and Goss meant for this memo to be read by those of us on the outside. It’s all positioning for the external debate about the CIA’s role and is not really designed to clarify anything internally.
I am going to start tracking Goss’s public statements and doing my best to gather people who will track his internal actions. Then, I’ll highlight the gaps — though this may take the effort of many, rather than just a few.
One good bit of news — I had my first bit of outreach from a CIA official yesterday. The way the official reached me was very unique — and I shouldn’t share how this person reached me in fear of foreclosing that route for this person or others. I also don’t know what I will be able to recount after I meet this person — but I have at least reached one person who may help me better understand the internal dynamics of the CIA.
I would be very interested in talking to others.
— Steve Clemons