Purging the disloyal at the CIA

Topics: War Room,

You’d think achieving the best possible intelligence would be tops on the president’s to-do list now that he’s looking ahead to a second term. But this article from Newsday gives us a chilling glimpse into how Bush is handling the CIA — “purges” of the disloyal.

“The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.”

“‘The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House,’ said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. ‘Goss was given instructions … to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president’s agenda.’”

“One of the first casualties appears to be Stephen R. Kappes, deputy director of clandestine services, the CIA’s most powerful division. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Kappes had tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Goss’ chief of staff, Patrick Murray, but at the behest of the White House had agreed to delay his decision till tomorrow.”

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Meanwhile, the Pentagon, House Republican allies, and the White House are among the chief obstacles to getting intelligence reform, based on the 9/11 commission’s recommendations, through Congress before the end of the year. “We have a critical window in the next few days to try and pass these recommendations,” 9/11 commission member Tim Roemer said. “These recommendations are bipartisan. They’re unanimous, without dissent.” And yet, they’ll likely die with this Congress. Good thing those political purges at the CIA are underway, though. We’re feeling safer already.

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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