In Reversal, Bush Could Propose Strong Intel Czar, Appoint Goss To Post
Seeking to head off an issue that has been central to the presidential campaign since the 9/11 panel issued its recommendations, UPI reports President Bush, "in an apparent reversal, has decided that the new national intelligence director recommended by the September 11 commission should have the budgetary and hire-fire authority that the commission wanted, a member of the bipartisan panel said yesterday." Newsweek reports "sources" say Rep. Porter Goss "may never actually serve" as CIA Director because, "under a restructuring plan the White House expects to announce in detail soon, Goss may end up serving as national intelligence director overseeing the entire U.S. intel community with beefed-up authority over the CIA, Pentagon intel agencies and a newly created national counterterrorism center. While some of the administration's plans will require congressional approval, White House lawyers believe many can simply be implemented by executive order." One scenario "being actively discussed in the White House calls for Goss to take the top slot as intelligence czar, while acting CIA Director John McLaughlin would stay on as a de facto No. 2 in charge of just the agency though no final decisions have been made."
Democrats Unlikely To Block Goss' Confirmation. Time reports this week that Rep. Porter Goss's "chances of being confirmed in the job are much greater than they were when the White House first floated his name six weeks ago. . . . Bush correctly calculated that Democrats would be reluctant to risk a backlash from voters by blocking a nominee while the nation was under threat. Kerry signaled that he wouldn't fight the nomination, and though Senate Democrats are still worried that Goss is too loyal to his political masters and too close to his old agency to reform it, for now they don't plan to hold up his appointment. Instead, they say they'll use Goss's confirmation hearing in early September to air complaints about CIA failures and possibly to grill Goss on his recent proposal to lift the ban on the agency operating inside the U.S.A. representative said Goss merely meant to provoke debate."