Porter Goss sworn in at White House as new CIA chief

Friday, September 24th 2004, 6:26 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Porter Goss was sworn in Friday to head the CIA and lead an intelligence community that has faced intense criticism for faulty information _ and failing to share good information it did gather _ before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.

Goss, 65, has said his priorities will be improving the agency's network of people able to recruit spies and gain information _ so-called human intelligence versus high-tech information gleaned by satellites.

Part of that, he told Congress during his confirmation hearings, is working to ensure that the intelligence agencies have enough people who can speak the necessary languages. He also has pledged to improve information sharing, both across the federal government and with state and local governments.

In addition to serving as CIA director, Goss will assume the role as head of a loose confederation of 14 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

But Goss would not be expected to be kept on as director if Democrat John Kerry were to win the White House. He is considered a top candidate, however, if President Bush is re-elected, to take on the new job of national intelligence director that Congress is considering creating.

Since 1989, Goss has represented southwest Florida in the House, most recently serving for nearly eight years as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The Senate approved his nomination Wednesday as CIA director by a vote of 77-17 over protests from some Democrats who said he had too many Republican ties for a job that requires independence.

A former CIA and Army intelligence officer during the 1960s, Goss is only the second congressman to lead the CIA, following former president and House member George H.W. Bush.

Accompanied by his wife, Mariel, and other family members in the Oval Office, Goss was sworn in by White House chief of staff Andy Card as President Bush stood nearby.

Goss succeeds George Tenet, who caught many by surprise in June when he announced he'd resign after seven years, serving two administrations.

Neither Kerry nor his running mate, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., voted on Goss' confirmation.

One Democrat who voted against Goss, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, said Friday that she voted against him because the United States has ``seen too often in the last three and a half years in this administration the misuse and manipulation of intelligence, and we cannot afford that.''