President Bush's nomination of Congressman Porter Goss is questionable both because of implications for intelligence reform and its timing. It calls into question President Bush's commitment to the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.
Up until today, President Bush and Congressman Goss have been going in opposite directions on intelligence reform. President Bush has favored a National Intelligence Director, but without broad authorities over the intelligence community. Congressman Goss introduced legislation in June that – while silent on the question of a National Intelligence Director – would strengthen the authority of the DCI over budgets and key personnel. Now Goss has flip-flopped and is willing to accept a position that will likely have less authority than his predecessors had and less authority than he believes necessary to do the job.
This nomination also puts the cart before the horse. It makes more sense to determine what the CIA should be and do in the future, then chose a committed reformer who can lead the agency and the intelligence community in a new direction. Instead, we are presented with a divisive partisan who could end up minimizing rather than maximizing real intelligence reform.
P.J. Crowley is a senior fellow and national security expert at the Center for American Progress.