Spy affair spelled end of CIA chief

Last night's resignation of James Woolsey, the CIA director, was an inevitable consequence of the Aldrich Ames spy scandal, which eroded his support at the White House and caused a fatal souring in relations with key congressional committees super visingthe US intelligence community.

Mr Woolsey's misfortune was to be in charge of the agency when the most devastating traitor in its history was belatedly unmasked. Having taken over only in 1993, he could not be blamed for Mr Ames's espionage for Moscow, which dated back to 1985. But Capitol Hill was infuriated by his seeming determination to protect the CIA, and his refusal to mete out sterner punishment to Ames's supervisors over the years.

He leaves to his successor - John Deutch, the Deputy Defense Secretary, is the name most frequently mentioned - a demoralised agency facing substantial cuts in its budget and still struggling to adjust to the post-Cold War world. Some influential senators have called for the CIA to be abolished, and its functions split between the State and Defense Departments.

Such concerns were evident in President Bill Clinton's statement, accepting the resignation "with regret". Mr Woolsey, a former Rhodes scholar, Pentagon official and arms-control negotiator for both Democrat and Republican presidents, had been a "staunchadvocate of maintaining an intelligence capacity second to none". Mr Clinton promised to ensure the agency had the "support, resources and leadership" it needed.

Mr Woolsey's departure overshadowed yesterday's White House nomination of Dan Glickman, a nine-term Democratic Congressman from Kansas, to be the new Agriculture Secretary - the first of a string of high-level appointments aimed at giving new momentum toMr Clinton's administration after November's pounding in mid-term elections. In picking Mr Glickman, the President has opted for a consummate Washington insider who, in the words of the Senate majority leader, Bob Dole, should "sail through the confirmation process". An agriculture specialist, Mr Glickman was also chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and, until yesterday, a mooted successor to Mr Woolsey.

Mr Glickman's electoral fortunes represent a case study of the Democratic Party's woes. His defeat last month at the hands of an obscure Republican was one of the biggest upsets of the elections. Mr Glickman acknowledges that Mr Clinton's personal unpopularity was a factor in his downfall.

Originally the White House had hoped to name him as one of a batch of high-level appointments. But planning again fell victim to Mr Clinton's incurable procrastination. Despite weeks of pondering, the President has still not settled on a new Democratic Party chairman. Nor has he picked a new White House political director and a new Surgeon General.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk