Tags: Intel | Panel | Democrats | Not | Yet | Sold | Goss

Intel Panel Democrats Not Yet Sold on Goss

Wednesday, 15 September 2004 12:00 AM

With his nomination, ``I have made a commitment to nonpartisanship,'' Goss said.

But Goss' demeanor rankled some Democrats. He said his record speaks for itself on a number of tough issues, including his initial opposition to the Sept. 11 commission and his positions on intelligence spending in the 1990s. Goss and the Democrats have each blamed the other for deep budget cuts.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., accused Goss of dismissing many of the questions from senators. ``Whoever briefed you for this hearing and said that when you get in a tight spot over something you have said or done, keep repeating 'the record is the record,' did you no great service,'' Durbin said.

After the hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she wants to know which Goss she will be asked to confirm: the ``fair, reasoned, knowledgeable'' chairman she watched lead a joint congressional investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, or the partisan who has since been making ``highly charged'' comments on behalf of the Bush administration.

``It was like there was a change of life,'' she said.

More than half of the panel's Democrats are waiting until after the committee's closed session - expected Monday - to announce their decision on Goss. Given the Republican-controlled Senate, congressional aides say they expect Goss to win confirmation as soon as this month.

If confirmed, Goss would take over the agency just months after the CIA's last director, George Tenet, shocked some on the Sept. 11 commission by saying it would take five years to install the kind of clandestine service needed to deal with international terrorism. Tenet blamed the situation on tight budgets after the Cold War.

Goss, however, said Tuesday it would take more than five years to train and place all the clandestine operatives the CIA needs. ``It's a long build-out, a long haul. It's been started,'' Goss said.

A former Army intelligence and CIA clandestine officer, Goss would not only run the CIA, but also take on the post's dual role, overseeing the 14 other agencies in the U.S. intelligence community. Goss would come to the job at a tumultuous time.

At the Sept. 11 commission's recommendation, Congress and the White House are considering separating Goss' would-be position into two jobs - a CIA director and a national intelligence director. The commission said the new director should be empowered with budget and personnel authority over the entire U.S. spy network.

On Tuesday, Goss said he believes the authority to control budgets for foreign intelligence should be consolidated in a central office. But if confirmed, he said, he will ``play the cards that are dealt to me on this subject.''

Goss also outlined a series of commonly cited priorities for the U.S. intelligence community. They included improving human intelligence and analytic capabilities, expanding intelligence sharing with state and local law enforcement agencies and enhancing foreign language capabilities.

Even as Goss focused on substantive intelligence issues Tuesday, Democrats repeatedly returned to sometimes terse exchanges about whether he could be an independent and nonpolitical CIA chief.

The panel's top Democrat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, admonished Goss for his criticism of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, including a March op-ed piece he co-authored titled ``Need Intelligence? Don't Ask John Kerry.''

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Goss, as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1996 until August, was insufficiently committed to intelligence reform.

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With his nomination, ``I have made a commitment to nonpartisanship,'' Goss said. But Goss' demeanor rankled some Democrats. He said his record speaks for itself on a number of tough issues, including his initial opposition to the Sept. 11 commission and his positions on...
Intel,Panel,Democrats,Not,Yet,Sold,Goss
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2004-00-15
Wednesday, 15 September 2004 12:00 AM
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