Resignations show turmoil within CIA

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The Independent US

The turmoil at the top of the CIA has intensified with the resignations of two senior officials, apparently as the result of a disagreement with the agency's new director, Porter Goss.

The turmoil at the top of the CIA has intensified with the resignations of two senior officials, apparently as the result of a disagreement with the agency's new director, Porter Goss.

The departures, revealed to colleagues at a morning staff briefing earlier this week, are further proof of the tensions unleashed by the arrival of Mr Goss, a former chairman of the House intelligence committee on Capitol Hill.

A one-time CIA operative himself, Mr Goss has been strongly critical of the agency's shortcomings before the 9/11 attacks and the intelligence failings before the invasion of Iraq.

The officials to resign are Stephen Kappes, the deputy director for operations in charge of clandestine activities, and his assistant, Michael Sulick. Both are agency veterans.

The upheavals are the latest at the CIA, after the retirement last week for "personal reasons" of the former deputy director John McLaughlin, who was interim CIA chief after the resignation last summer of George Tenet.

And they are unlikely to be the last. The changes are being taken as a sign of Mr Goss's conviction that he has George Bush's blessing for a root-and-branch overhaul. But the new director, a former Republican congressman from Florida, has been criticised for bringing in too many former aides from Capitol Hill.

There is also talk that the resignations have been ordered by the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, who is enraged by leaks to the media - almost certainly from the CIA - suggesting there were no links between the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'ida.

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