In the latest of a series of moves to reinvigorate the Bush administration, CIA Director Porter Goss resigned unexpectedly today.
Senior administration officials said the White House could name a successor as early as Monday.
In his announcement today, President Bush said Goss’ tenure was a transition.
“He has led ably,” Bush said, standing next to Goss. “He has a five-year plan to increase the analysts and operatives.”
Goss expressed thanks for the president placing in him a degree of trust and confidence he “could have never imagined.”
“I believe the agency is on a very even keel, sailing well,” Goss said. “I honestly believe that we have improved dramatically.”
Goss’ successor will continue reforming the troubled agency, the president said.
“As a result, this country will be more secure,” Bush declared. “We’ve got to win the war on terror, and the Central Intelligence Agency is a vital part of the war. So I thank you for your service.”
The announcement came amid whispers picked up on the Internet that Goss’ name has been tied to the Republican bribe scheme that began with convicted former Republican Rep. Randy Cunningham.
Goss’ hand-picked No. 3 man at the CIA, Kyle Foggo, is under investigation for bribery and corruption, according to ABC News.
The CIA has replied that it is “standard practice for CIA’s Office of Inspector General – an aggressive, independent watchdog – to look into assertions that mention agency officers. That should in no way be seen as lending credibility to any allegation. Mr. Foggo has overseen many contracts in his decades of public service. He reaffirms that they were properly awarded and administered.”
Two former CIA officials told ABC News Foggo oversaw contracts involving at least one of the companies accused of paying bribes to Cunningham.
Harper’s magazine said the scandal involved providing prostitution and could touch a former lawmaker “who now holds a powerful intelligence post.”
The popular left-wing blog Daily Kos says there’s speculation Goss could be a figure in the investigation.
Bush nominated Goss – a former CIA agent, Florida congressman and head of the House Intelligence Committee – to the top CIA post in August 2004, saying he “knows the CIA inside and out.”
“He’s the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation’s history,” the president said at the time.
Goss led a massive intelligence overhaul that included dismissing the deputy director of intelligence, the chief of the clandestine service, two deputy chiefs of the clandestine service, the chief of the directorate of intelligence, the director of the counterterrorism center and the comptroller, according to NBC News.
He also sought to stem the flow of information leaks.
“The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission,” he told Congress in February.
He announced two weeks ago the dismissal of a top intelligence analyst in connection with a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story alleging a network of CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.