TPM News

Lotta words. Little information:

Statement by CIA Director Porter Goss

This morning, I notified the President that I will be stepping aside as Director of CIA. It has been my distinct honor to serve the President, the people of the United States, and the very able men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency. I am grateful to President Bush for the trust and responsibility he placed in me, and for allowing me the privilege of serving him, and the people of the United States.

When the President asked me to become the last DCI, I fully recognized and embraced the challenge of leading this Agency through historic change, not just for the CIA, but the entire Intelligence Community. It was my desire to lead the CIA -- this is where I started my career, and where I always wanted to return.

Read More →

Here come the rumors.

Over at Warandpiece.com, Laura Rozen says she's hearing that Negroponte, or possibly the White House, gave Goss the boot, and it was sudden. That fits with what I'm hearing: that Goss didn't jump, or at least not without a nudge.

Rozen says she's been told Goss' departure "may have to do with how Goss handled a management issue concerning Foggo."

I've heard it a bit more bluntly: Goss was told to fire Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, his troublesome Executive Director, and Goss refused. That's what we're hearing now from knowledgeable sources. But there's a lot of contradictory information. We'll bring you more as the picture becomes clearer.

During his press conference just now, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) announced that he was leaving that afternoon to check in to the Mayo Clinic, where he admitted he'd been over the Christmas break for addiction to prescription medicine.



The reason, he said, is that "the incident on wednesday concerned me deeply.... I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police, or being cited with three infractions." He said he was "deeply concerned about his reaction to the medication and lack of knowledge about the incident that evening."

Update: Here's the text of Kennedy's statement.

CIA says they're putting out a statement soon on Goss' resignation. My guess: it won't tell us the real reason he's stepping down. For that, Rozen speculates, we may need to look into the pages tomorrow's paper.

As we mentioned before, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) was the first on CNN to mention a connection to Brent Wilkes' prostitution ring as the reason behind Porter Goss' sudden resignation. Here's the transcript:

Reporter: So why is President Bush accepting Porter Goss's resignation? What do you make of the timing of it?

Bob Barr: I think there's going to be more coming out. We don't know the whole story...

Reporter: But Congressman, there's something that doesn't make sense here, you know? There's something... I am wondering whether this resignation is something to come, Porter Goss wanted to get out of the way. Do you have any sense of that on Capitol Hill or from your sources in Washington?

Bobb Barr: We've seen brewing out of the congressman Duke Cunningham scandal, probably now for several months. It's starting to reach into the CIA and that come very... well... like a sore that's been festering, that could very well burst out and maybe that's a reach into the top levels of the agency.

Reporter: Are you saying the director himself, congressman?

Bobb Barr: I can't imagine that. I know Porter, I've known him for many years and I can't imagine him part of that. But if you've got the top two or three people at an agency working under him and he's going to put them in there and place the faith and the trust of the government in these people and then he becomes tainted by this, it certainly reflects on the leadership.

Bob Barr, thank you very much.

Various pundits now out and hypothesizing on the reason for Goss' sudden departure -- without warning, without a stated reason, without a timeline, without a successor.

Was he upset for not being tapped to be Director of National Intelligence? Couldn't take the pressure?

CNN: "There's something. It's an indication fo something to come, Porter Goss wants to get out of the way."

Former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) gets first mention of possible link to Cunningham scandal, 2:18 PM Eastern on CNN.

We have the same suspicions, based on our earlier reporting. For more background, read our coverage here and here.

Goss out, apparently effective immediately. . . No successor named. . . No word on the fate of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, Goss' #3 at the agency, whose name has been repeatedly mentioned in the developing Cunningham-Wilkes-Wade hooker scandal. We've got a call in to the agency to find out.



CNN, not looking in the right places: "Taking a look at what's out on the Internet -- not much controversy involving the director himself."

From joint Oval Office announcement of Porter Goss' resignation as CIA director:

Bush: "I appreciate his integrity. I appreciate the honor he brought to the job." Goss: "It has been a very distinct honor and privilege to serve you."

breaking. . .

Update: MSNBC confirms. . .

Late Update: Here's the transcript of Bush's and Goss's remarks.

I really hope this isn't true.

In three weeks, David Safavian's trial will begin. This was supposed to be Jack Abramoff's big court debut, since Safavian's on the hook for allegedly lying about his relationship with Abramoff to ethics investigators at the General Services Administration, where Safavian was chief of staff.

This wasn't going to be the big show. But it would have provided Abramoff the opportunity to rehearse for later trials -- say, Bob Ney's or Tom DeLay's. Taking cross examination isn't easy, and he could have used the practice.

But it looks like prosecutors might try to let Abramoff's emails do the talking for him:

If the government can get the e-mails declared admissible as evidence for next month's trial, prosecutors might not have to call admitted felon Abramoff as a witness against Safavian.

The government does not want to put Abramoff on the witness stand, Safavian's lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, said of the prosecution's e-mail gambit...

Prosecutors may want to save Abramoff for bigger criminal cases down the road, for example against members of Congress.

From the AP:

Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference that she had not spoken directly to [Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)] about the investigation. "But he knows what is going on, and the ethics committee should investigate what is going on."

At the same time, Pelosi sought Thursday to differentiate the Jefferson case from what Democrats have labeled the "culture of corruption" linking the Republican majority and special interests represented by disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "The Republicans are all tied together," she said. "Mr. Jefferson is his own behavior, he is responsible for it."

TPMLivewire