From NY Times:
Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to “support the administration and its policies in our work,” a copy of an internal memorandum shows.
“As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies,” Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking “to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road.”
While his words could be construed as urging analysts to conform with administration policies, Mr. Goss also wrote, “We provide the intelligence as we see it – and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker.”
The memorandum suggested an effort by Mr. Goss to spell out his thinking as he embarked on what he made clear would be a major overhaul at the agency, with further changes to come. The changes to date, including the ouster of the agency’s clandestine service chief, have left current and former intelligence officials angry and unnerved. Some have been outspoken, including those who said Tuesday that they regarded Mr. Goss’s warning as part of an effort to suppress dissent within the organization.
In recent weeks, White House officials have complained that some C.I.A. officials have sought to undermine President Bush and his policies.
At a minimum, Mr. Goss’s memorandum appeared to be a swipe against an agency decision under George J. Tenet, his predecessor as director of central intelligence, to permit a senior analyst at the agency, Michael Scheuer, to write a book and grant interviews that were critical of the Bush administration’s policies on terrorism.
One former intelligence official said he saw nothing inappropriate in Mr. Goss’s warning, noting that the C.I.A. had long tried to distance itself and its employees from policy matters.
“Mike exploited a seam in the rules and inappropriately used it to express his own policy views,” the official said of Mr. Scheuer. “That did serious damage to the agency, because many people, including some in the White House, thought that he was being urged by the agency to take on the president. I know that was not the case.”
But a second former intelligence official said he was concerned that the memorandum and the changes represented an effort by Mr. Goss to stifle independence.
“If Goss is asking people to color their views and be a team player, that’s not what people at C.I.A. signed up for,” said the former intelligence official. The official and others interviewed in recent days spoke on condition that they not be named, saying they did not want to inflame tensions at the agency.
Some of the contents of Mr. Goss’s memorandum were first reported by The Washington Post. A complete copy of the document was obtained on Tuesday by The New York Times.
Tensions between the agency’s new leadership team, which took over in late September, and senior career officials are more intense than at any time since the late 1970’s. The most significant changes so far have been the resignations on Monday of Stephen R. Kappes, the deputy director of operations, and his deputy, Michael Sulick, but Mr. Goss told agency employees in the memorandum that he planned further changes “in the days and weeks ahead of us” that would involve “procedures, organization, senior personnel and areas of focus for our action.”
“I am committed to sharing these changes with you as they occur,” Mr. Goss said in the memorandum. “I do understand it is easy to be distracted by both the nature and the pace of change. I am confident, however, that you will remain deeply committed to our mission.”
Mr. Goss’s memorandum included a reminder that C.I.A. employees should “scrupulously honor our secrecy oath” by allowing the agency’s public affairs office and its Congressional relations branch to take the lead in all contacts with the media and with Congress. “We remain a secret organization,” he said.
Among the moves that Mr. Goss said he was weighing was the selection of a candidate to become the agency’s No. 2 official, the deputy director of central intelligence. The name being mentioned most often within the C.I.A. as a candidate, intelligence officials said, is Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden of the Air Force, the director of the National Security Agency, which is responsible for intercepting electronic communications worldwide. The naming of a deputy director would be made by the White House, in a nomination subject to Senate confirmation.
In interviews this week, members of Congress as well as current and former intelligence officials said one reason the overhaul under way had left them unnerved was that Mr. Goss had not made clear what kind of agency he intended to put in place. But Mr. Goss’s memorandum did little to spell out that vision, and it did not make clear why the focus of overhaul efforts to date appeared to be on the operations directorate, which carries out spying and other covert missions around the world.
“It’s just very hard to divine what’s going on over there,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, who said he and other members of the Senate intelligence committee would be seeking answers at closed sessions this week. “But on issue after issue, there’s a real question about whether the country and the Congress are going to get an unvarnished picture of our intelligence situation at a critical time.”
Mr. Goss said in the memorandum that he recognized that intelligence officers were operating in an atmosphere of extraordinary pressures, after a series of reports critical of intelligence agencies’ performance in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Iraq.
“The I.C. and its people have been relentlessly scrutinized and criticized,” he said, using an abbreviation for intelligence community. “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.”