Intelligence: What Hayden Needs Now: Kappes's Comeback
Hosenball, Mark, Newsweek
Byline: Mark Hosenball
A 6-foot-2 former Marine officer, fluent in Russian and Farsi, Stephen Kappes became something of a legend within the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine service, which he briefly headed in 2004. Over the years he has been handed some of the toughest assignments. In 2003, when the agency began a secret diplomatic mission aimed at persuading Libyan dictator Muammar Kaddafi to give up his WMD program, it put Kappes on a plane to Africa. Over several months, Kappes met repeatedly with the paranoid and reclusive strongman. It was a "lengthy dialogue, a delicate and subtle dance," said a former agency official, who requested anonymity when discussing secret diplomatic matters. "And Steve handled it very well." The Bush administration was able to announce, months after the invasion of Iraq and only days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, that the rogue state had given up its WMD. Last week the administration said that Washington and Tripoli would restore full diplomatic relations.
Now Kappes is preparing for what could be his most challenging assignment yet: rejuvenating the CIA itself. When intel czar John Negroponte announced the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA director, he took the unusual step of saying he hoped Kappes would agree to be Hayden's second in command. The announcement was a not-too-subtle dig at retiring Director Porter Goss. …