Porter J. Goss

From SourceWatch
(Redirected from Porter Goss)
Jump to: navigation, search
This is a profile of a former U.S. Representative. (See the Florida portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
Florida state flag.png

Things you can do:

Porter Goss is the former Director of Central Intelligence and an ex-congressman.

Porter Johnston Goss, is a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, serving in that position between April 21, 2005, and May 5, 2006, when President George W. Bush accepted his resignation.[1]

In July 2008, Goss was named to the House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics, a bi-partisan and independent ethics board that can refer complaints to the full House Ethics Committee. Goss was named a co-chairman of the OCE.[1]



Congressional career

Clarke testimony declassification

In 2004, Goss, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sought the de-classification of testimony provided by former White House terrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke in 2002. Several Republicans in Congress, including then Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) and then House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) wanted to publicize Clarke's testimony in a bid to compare his 2002 remarks with negative comments he made about the Bush Administration in 2004.[2]

Valerie Plame

"Rep. Porter Goss said August 5, 2004, that the uproar over allegations that White House officials purposely identified a covert CIA agent appears largely political and doesn't yet merit an investigation by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, which he chairs. ...

"'I would say there's a much larger dose of partisan politics going on right now than there is worry about national security,' said Goss, R-Sanibel. 'But I would never take lightly a serious allegation backed up by evidence that there was a willful -- and I emphasize willful, inadvertent is something else -- willful disclosure, and I haven't seen any evidence.'

"Goss said he would act if he did have evidence of that sort.

"'Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation,' Goss said." [2]

Legislation for Increased DCI powers

On June 16, 2004, Rep. Goss introduced legislation (H.R. 4584) to the House in the guise of an "intelligence reform bill." In the current atmosphere of leaning the blame for 9/11 on the intelligence community, efforts to address realized failures are attempting to restructure and redefine the powers and departments entrusted with providing for the nation's security.

The language of Goss' bill appears to drastically alter the authority of the DCI, in direct contradiction to the CIA's fifty-seven year-old charter, and legalize "the company's" operations within the United States. The proposed bill follows current law by reassuring that the DCI shall "collect, coordinate and direct" the collection of intelligence for the US government, except that the CIA "may not exercise police, subpeona, or law enforcement powers within the United States."

However, a clause follows this passage stating that the ban on domestic law-enforcement operations applies "except as otherwise permitted by law or as directed by the President." (emphasis added)

Some critics have claimed that changes to the current laws like this open the door for the CIA and the Pentagon to spy and collect data on US citizens and to create and use assets in the US and against US citizens. Jeffrey H. Smith, who was the general counsel of the CIA in '95-'96, said of the language of Goss' bill, "I can't imagine what [he] had in mind." Wording like this "would have allowed President Nixon to authorize the CIA to bug the Democratic National Committee Headquarters."

Though there is little chance of the bill going through, it is indicative of what type of clay the bill drafters have on the potting wheel. Said a congressional official familiar with the writing of Goss' proposal, "It was designed as a point of discussion, a point of debate. It's not carved in stone." [3][4]

Appointment to D.C.I.


Bush's selection of a partisan to head the troubled agency was met with immediate criticism. At the time of the announcement, most CIA Directors had no political experience: the single exception was Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, who headed the agency from 1976-1977.

Senator John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), then ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which held hearings on the nomination, declared that it was a mistake to select "any politician, from either party." Former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, who served in the Carter administration, called the nomination "the worst appointment that's ever been made because that's an office that needs to be kept above partisan politics."[3]

Fahrenheit 9/11 appearance

  • "Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence and the fight against terrorism. He knows his CIA inside and out. He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history." --President George W. Bush, Transcript from video clip run by CNN, August 10, 2004.
  • "It is true I was in CIA from approximately the late 50's to approximately the early 70's. And it's true I was a case officer, clandestine services office and yes I do understand the core mission of the business. I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified. I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably. And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day, 'Dad you got to get better on your computer.' Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have."[4]

"We don't torture"

On March 18, 2005, Reuters reported that Porter Goss "defended his spy agency's current interrogation practices but could not say all methods used as recently as last December conformed to U.S. law.

"U.S. officials do not view torture as a method for gaining vital intelligence, Goss said. But he acknowledged some CIA operatives may have been uncertain about approved interrogation techniques in the past."

Goss told the Senate Armed Services Committee "'The United States does not engage in or condone torture, ... I know for a fact that torture is not productive. That's not professional interrogation. We don't torture.'" [5]

Related SourceWatch Resources

Articles and resources


  1. Susan Crabtree "Goss among former members appointed to ethics office ," The Hill, July 24, 2008
  2. "Republicans seek to declassify '02 Clarke testimony," USA Today, March 23, 2004
  3. "Is Bush’s Nominee for CIA Chief Porter Goss a Decoy For Re-Election?", Democracy Now, August 11, 2004
  4. Unofficial Transcript, Porter Goss Interview with Michael Moore, March 2004

External Articles

Profiles & Political Data

Reports & Documents

Articles & commentary