INDEPTH: U.S. SECURITY
Previous CIA bosses
CBC News Online | May 10, 2006
U.S. President George W. Bush, right, shakes hands with Porter Goss after naming him the new director of the CIA in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Aug. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Nominated by President George W. Bush to take the helm at the CIA on Aug. 10, 2004, two months after the resignation of previous CIA boss George Tenet. Several Democrats – including former vice-president Al Gore – challenged Goss's nomination as too politically partisan. Goss had been a career politician since leaving his job as a CIA operative in 1971.
When he named Goss as his choice for CIA boss, Bush said the former spy knew the organization inside and out and would be able to bolster its intelligence-gathering network.
"Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence and the fight against terrorism," Bush said. "He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."
The announcement followed the release of the 9/11 Commission report. That report cited lapses and oversights in American intelligence-gathering abilities before the attacks. One of the report's key recommendations was the creation of an "intelligence czar" to oversee the activities of the CIA and more than a dozen other intelligence agencies. The White House had said it was in favour of that, yet it took months for Bush to nominate someone – John Negroponte – for the job.
With the creation of the job of intelligence czar, the head of the CIA lost some power in the reshuffling of responsibilities. The CIA boss used to report directly to the president. Now, the head of the CIA reports to the director of national intelligence, who in turn, reports to the president.
John D. Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, urged Bush not to pick a politician for the sensitive post. He warned doing so would be a mistake.
"The debacle related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction has damaged the credibility of the intelligence community and the image of the United States around the world," Rockefeller said in a release. "We need a director that is not only knowledgeable and capable but unquestionably independent."
But Congress approved Goss and on Sept. 24, 2004, he was sworn in as head of the CIA. Goss said he would focus on improving the agency's network of people able to recruit spies and gain information – so-called human intelligence versus high-tech information gathered by satellites.
Goss faced criticism almost immediately. He brought several top aides from Congress with him to his new job. They were seen as highly political appointments to the country's top spy agency. Many veteran members of the agency left as Goss tried to put his stamp on the organization.
In March 2005, Goss told an audience that he was overwhelmed by the demands of his job, including devoting five hours a day to preparing and delivering presidential briefings.
On May 5, 2006, Goss unexpectedly resigned. A White House official said the resignation was based on a "mutual understanding" between Bush, Negroponte and Goss. It was the latest move in a second-term shakeup of Bush's team.
George Tenet (AP file photo)
George Tenet grew up in Queens, New York – the son of Greek immigrants – where he attended public schools and worked in the family deli. His focus was his education, his specialty foreign affairs.
Tenet graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1976 and in 1978 he obtained a master's degree from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University.
In 1982, Tenet joined the staff of Senator John Heinz. He worked for the Pennsylvania Republican for three years as both a legislative assistant covering national security and energy issues, and as legislative director.
Tenet joined the Senate select committee on intelligence in August 1985, where he directed the committee's oversight of all arms control negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States. He served four years as the committee's staff director. He was a key architect of changes in the ways covert action had to be reported to senior government officials. He was also instrumental in drafting legislation to reorganize U.S. intelligence.
Tenet moved up the intelligence ladder, becoming the National Security Council's senior director for intelligence programs under President Bill Clinton. He was responsible for intelligence priorities and security policy co-ordination, and for looking at the effectiveness of American counterintelligence.
In 1995, Tenet was appointed deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. When CIA director John Deutch stepped down in December 1996, Tenet was named acting head.
He was sworn in as director of central intelligence on July 11, 1997. He became head of all foreign intelligence agencies of the United States, including the CIA, at the relatively young age of 44.
Tenet came to the job during tough times for the agency; he was its seventh boss in five years, a time that saw deep budget cuts and ever tumbling morale.
The failure of U.S. intelligence to anticipate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks once again put the spotlight on the CIA. In May 2004, a government committee investigating the attacks harshly criticized the CIA for failing to fully appreciate the threat posed by al-Qaeda. Tenet told the panel the intelligence-gathering flaws exposed by the attacks would take five years to correct.
The effectiveness of the CIA under Tenet was also harshly questioned for its assessments on Iraq in the months before the U.S. invaded in March 2003. Bush cited intelligence reports of Iraq's fighting ability and its stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction as key reasons for the U.S. move to topple Saddam Hussein.
Tenet cited personal reasons for his decision to leave the job exactly seven years after he was sworn in. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family.