President Bush's nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Congressman
Porter Goss, has long experience with the intelligence community and in politics.
Mr. Goss, a Republican from Florida, is chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee, and in that post, led the congressional probe of the September 11,
2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
He also serves on the Homeland Security Committee and the Rules Committee,
which is responsible for how legislation is presented. But he is not seeking
re-election in November.
Before he was first elected to the House in 1988, Mr. Goss served as a CIA
After graduating from Yale University, Mr. Goss spent two years with U.S.
Army intelligence and then went to work for the CIA from 1962 to 1971. Although
he has said little about his time with in the CIA, he once told The Washington
Post that he did photograph interpretation during the 1962 Cuban missile
Mr. Goss was forced to retire from the agency when he came down with a debilitating
infection. He became involved in politics when his health improved.
President Bush, in announcing the nomination, praised Mr. Goss' experience
with the CIA. "He knows the agency, and he knows what is needed to strengthen
it. He understands the importance of human intelligence," he said.
Mr. Goss' nomination comes amid an overhaul of the U.S. intelligence community
and as the CIA is struggling to address intelligence failures relating to the
September 11th attacks and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which have never
Mr. Goss, who must be confirmed by the Senate, says he is ready for the job. "The
essence of our intelligence capability is people. And we have some wonderful
Americans doing a great job," he said. "I used to be part of them when I worked
for CIA. I'm very proud to be associated with them again."
President Bush's challenger for the White House, Democratic Senator John
Kerry of Massachusetts, called for "fair, bipartisan and expeditious confirmation
hearings" for Mr. Goss. He also expressed hope Mr. Goss would support the creation
of what he called a more important position, that of national intelligence
director who would coordinate intelligence matters, as recommended by the bipartisan
commission that investigated the September 11 attacks.
Other senators praised the nomination. Senator John Warner, a Virginia Republican
and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that
Mr. Goss would serve as "an important bridge between the executive branch and
the legislative branch" as the government works together "to build the best
intelligence community possible."
But some Democrats believe Mr. Goss, who has been a vocal supporter of President
Bush, is too political for the CIA job.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller
of West Virginia, was asked about Mr. Goss as a potential nominee for CIA director
last month on NBC's Meet the Press.
"I do not think that anybody up for consideration should have a political
background," he said.
The Republican chairman of the panel, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, had
a different view.
"I do not know anybody in Washington who does not have a political background
of some sort," he said. "There has been a statement by those on Jay's side
that he is too partisan. I do not happen to share that view."
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Goss would succeed George Tenet, who resigned
last month. Acting Director John McLaughlin is running the agency now.