- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2005

White House approves authority for CIA director


The White House has approved a plan to install CIA Director Porter J. Goss as the manager of traditional spying operations across the 15-agency intelligence community, officials said yesterday.

Mr. Goss, the former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman who took over as CIA director just over a year ago, would receive the title of “national HUMINT manager” under a plan that specialists say could restore some of the CIA’s lost prestige as the lead agency in the intelligence community.

HUMINT is bureaucratic parlance for human intelligence, or traditional espionage by operatives overseas.

Officials, who asked not to be identified because the plan has not been formally announced, said Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte will charge Mr. Goss with coordinating agencies involved in human intelligence and setting new common standards for clandestine operations.

Mr. Negroponte’s office would retain oversight of human intelligence, but would not be involved in day-to-day management decisions, officials said.

A spokesman for Mr. Negroponte declined to comment on the plan, but said an announcement was expected shortly. A CIA spokeswoman also declined to discuss details of the plan.

Intelligence specialists say the change could restore to the CIA some of the stature stripped away by congressionally mandated reforms that created Mr. Negroponte’s job last year. The CIA lost its leadership role in the intelligence community as a result of the reforms.

Still reeling from criticism over intelligence lapses involving the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq, the agency has lost some of its most senior clandestine officers in recent months.

“The continuing erosion of CIA authority is a concern. They’ve clearly made mistakes in the past, but we’ve got to stop the hemorrhaging,” said a congressional aide who receives regular intelligence briefings.

The new intelligence plan comes just weeks after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said the CIA was failing to lead U.S. human intelligence efforts and suggested Mr. Negroponte take a stronger management role.

Mr. Negroponte received White House approval for the plan recently, according to officials who said a formal announcement could come as early as today.

Mr. Goss told CIA employees at a closed-door meeting last month that Mr. Negroponte intended to grant him the wider management authority and predicted the agency would set standards for the entire community on human intelligence.

The CIA reached separate agreements earlier this year on coordinating foreign intelligence with the FBI and the Pentagon, which have stepped up their intelligence activities since the September 11 attacks.

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