Gee, the first line of this story surprises me not at all.
Democrats raise objections to pick
WASHINGTON (CNN)—President Bush on Tuesday nominated U.S. Rep. Porter Goss to lead the CIA, an intelligence agency that has been under fire and under the microscope since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
"He knows the CIA inside and out," Bush said of Goss, an eight-term Republican congressman from Florida, a former CIA officer, and until Tuesday, the House intelligence chief. "He is the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."
Goss's nomination was praised by Republicans, but key Democrats objected to Bush's choice, questioning whether any lawmaker could bring non-partisan objectivity to the post.
And some questioned whether Goss was too close to the CIA to shake things up at the agency, which was the focus of some critical comments in a recent report by the independent 9/11 commission. The agency has also been faulted for its pre-war intelligence on Iraq.
Goss' nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.
My political views are on the left and I've been registered as a Democrat in the past, but I'm beyond sick of Democrats' knee-jerk objections to any nomination (or nearly any other action) by Republicans. It's so reflexive nowadays, always couched in the language that will guarantee a sound-bite or a subhead. These objections may even be real, for all I know. I'm so accustomed to immediate cries of foul, however, that I don't pay much attention once I've heard the news teasers.
That's unfortunate, because in this case I think the objections may have something to them. Not because Goss is a Republican, however. I don't think anyone who's been chairman of the improbably named House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for seven years is the best choice to head the intelligence agency that's most under scrutiny following the September 11, 2001, attacks. I simply don't think any politician is the right person for the job.
Ditto for anyone seeking promotion from within CIA's ranks; those people are already steeped in the institutional arrogance that prevents CIA from sharing its information with other agencies. (Such institutional arrogance is widespread in government, by no means solely a problem at CIA.) It's difficult to imagine anyone who's been at CIA for a long time managing to buck the system and remain connected and visible enough to be selected for the head-honcho post. Usually such people are identified and drummed out of such organizations long before they reach positions of real power.
I haven't even decided my position on the proposed national intelligence director spot recommended by the 9/11 commission. I need to do more reading about Goss and finish the 9/11 report first, so this post is just going to dribble off to nowhere for right now, since I'm done venting about the silly reflexive objections to the nomination.