Goss Honor Roll
The Senators that voted against Porter Goss:
He passed the Senate yesterday bya 77-17 vote. The LA Times has a better substantive piece, if the Washington insider stuff doesn't amuse you. I would think this was a bigger deal if Kerry didn't have the ability to replace him. If Bush wins, we're fucked anyway. More Democratic opposition would have let Kerry make Goss a campaign issue, but that's not the nature of the Democratic Party. We were more concerned about Bush making it an issue - despite the fact that Goss is a moderately qualified partisan hack. Best case scenario, he's Woolsey redux.
Is it rational to be ambivalent about such an important position? Maybe it's outrage fatigue. Maybe the CIA will read the writing on the wall and increase its leak incidence.
Quotes from yesterday:
"I sincerely hope that Mr. Goss will take my comments and the comments of those of us who vote against him as a challenge to him in his new role at the CIA," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "I hope he proves me wrong. I hope that I can stand in front of this chamber in the future and say, 'He was nonpartisan. He was committed to reform. He was prepared to tell this administration and any administration he served the truth even though it was politically painful.' " [Capitol Hill Blue]
During confirmation hearings, Goss said the jobs of congressman and CIA director were very different, and he pledged to be nonpartisan. He said he regretted some of his public partisan remarks but didn't explain except to say, "The record is the record."Rockefeller
That response wasn't good enough, several Democrats said Wednesday during a five-hour floor debate.
"He should have been open and candid about what he meant," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in explaining why he voted against Goss. "I hope he proves me wrong." [Knight Ridder]
"It's critical that the CIA director tell the truth and take pride in his independence," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, who opposed Goss. "I must vote on his record. I cannot vote on his promise."Mikulski
Rockefeller cited Bush's comments Tuesday after his United Nations speech that senior intelligence officials were "just guessing" in their bleak assessment of the situation in Iraq.
"That is an outrageous statement and clearly an example of this president dismissing the validity of intelligence analysis that doesn't agree with his policies," Rockefeller said. "Never before has it been more important to have a CIA director who will stand up to the president." [Knight Ridder]
"We want to be sure that there are no more 9/11's and no more wars based on dated and dubious intelligence,'' said Senator Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, who was among Democrats favoring confirmation. [NYT]Graham
Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is often a staunch critic of the White House, said of Mr. Goss's nomination, "This time, the president got it right.''[NYT]Dorgan
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said he found it "unbelievable" that prior to preemptively attacking Iraq, "on major points delivered in top-secret briefings to members of this Congress, our intelligence community was just flat wrong." Although he also had reservations about partisan comments Goss has made in the past year, Dorgan said he found the national security concerns a compelling reason to endorse Goss' ascension to the post.Roberts
"We need to fix it, all of it," he said. "There is no Republican or Democratic way to deal with intelligence. We need to fix this system in the interest of this country."[Capitol Hill Blue]
Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who is chairman of the Intelligence Committee, praised Mr. Goss as "someone who has the integrity to look the president in the eye and say no.''...Lott
On the Senate floor on Wednesday, Mr. Roberts, whose own reform proposal calls for dismantling the C.I.A., described Mr. Goss as "the next, and probably last, director of central intelligence.'' While it is not clear whether Mr. Goss might be nominated to a higher post, Mr. Roberts said that Mr. Goss "was ready to go to work, and he is needed.''[NYT]
Among those who spoke in favor of Mr. Goss's nomination was Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, who compared Mr. Goss favorably with his predecessor, George J. Tenet, who stepped down in July after a seven-year tenure whose final months were marked by controversy over the recent intelligence failures. Mr. Goss, as an eight-term congressman, Mr. Lott said, "was one of us, and he won't try to fool us.'' [NYT]Bush
"He is the right man to take on the essential mission of leading the CIA at this critical moment in our nation's history as we face the challenges and the dangerous threats of this century," Bush said in a statement. [LA Times]I'm not sure how I feel about Kerry's lack of comment on the issue. Probably wise, as it's a distraction, but still unsatisfying.