For Smarter Intelligence; Porter Goss Is the Right Reformer

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 14, 2004 | Go to article overview

For Smarter Intelligence; Porter Goss Is the Right Reformer


Byline: Saxby Chambliss, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Years before the United States entered World War II, it was Gen. George C. Marshall's habit to jot down names of exceptional officers with whom he came in contact. One of the names he had collected was Dwight Eisenhower, who Gen. Marshall had promoted far ahead of his contemporaries and sent to Europe to lead the Allied forces to defeat Nazi Germany.

Gen. Marshall knew that individuals matter and that selecting the right person to carry out a plan is at least as important as the plan itself. Whenever there is a monumental task to be done, we know that critical tasks require exceptional people.

If we are serious about reforming our intelligence community we will need more than structural changes; we absolutely must have quality people who have the leadership, vision, and drive to implement and manage change. In short, we need real reformers in the top positions of our intelligence community to help protect our country from another devastating terrorist attack.

Porter Goss has been nominated by President Bush to be the director of central intelligence at the most critical time in the history of the intelligence community. Intelligence is our first line of defense in our war on terrorism and it is critical for our national security that the next director of central intelligence be successful in his job.

The president and many members of both houses of Congress have accepted the September 11 commission's recommendation to create a national intelligence director who will be separate from the director of the CIA to oversee our entire intelligence community. While some think it would be better to wait on Mr. Goss' confirmation until the new position of National Intelligence Director is enacted into law, the reality is that the intelligence community needs to have quality, experienced leadership in place right now to lead and implement the changes we all know are coming.

The selection of Mr. Goss is a brilliant choice, and he should be confirmed without delay. As a colleague, mentor and friend of mine for ten years, I know his character, professionalism, leadership abilities and dedication to duty as few others.

Mr. Goss was an officer in the Army's Military Intelligence Corps, a clandestine case officer in the CIA, and more recently the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. …

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