Skip to comments.Director of Analysis Branch at the C.I.A. Is Being Removed
Posted on 12/28/2004 8:10:58 PM PST by Pikamax
c By DOUGLAS JEHL
ASHINGTON, Dec. 28 - The head of the Central Intelligence Agency's analytical branch is being forced to step down, former intelligence officials say, opening a major new chapter in a shakeup under Porter J. Goss, the agency's chief.
The official, Jami Miscik, the agency's deputy director for intelligence, told her subordinates on Tuesday afternoon of her plan to step down on Feb. 4. A former intelligence official said that Ms. Miscik was told before Christmas that Mr. Goss wanted to make a change and that "the decision to depart was not hers."
Ms. Miscik has headed analysis at the agency since 2002, a period in which prewar assessments of Iraq and its illicit weapons, which drew heavily on C.I.A. analysis, proved to be mistaken. Even before taking charge of the C.I.A., Mr. Goss, who was a congressman, and his closest associates had been openly critical of the directorate of intelligence, saying it suffered from poor leadership and was devoting too much effort to monitoring day-to-day developments rather than broad trends.
Ms. Miscik's departure is the latest in a series of high-level ousters that have prompted unease within the C.I.A. since Mr. Goss took over as director of central intelligence in September. Of the officials who worked as top deputies to Mr. Goss's predecessor, George J. Tenet, at least a half-dozen have been fired or have retired abruptly, including the agency's No. 2 and No. 3 officials. Much of the top tier of the agency's clandestine service is also gone.
The departure of Ms. Miscik will be the first major change within the directorate of intelligence, which is responsible for making important judgments about events around the world and whose products include the President's Daily Brief, the highly classified document prepared for the president each morning.
The C.I.A. declined to comment on the move, and Ms. Miscik did not reply to written questions provided to her on Monday evening.
But in her message to subordinates, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Miscik described her departure as part of a "natural evolution," saying every intelligence chief "has a desire to have his own team in place to implement his vision and to offer him counsel."
Current and former intelligence officials said the move seemed to signal that Mr. Goss's overhaul, which has focused on human spying operations, would be widened to include the analytical unit.
The former intelligence officials who agreed to discuss Ms. Miscik's plans did so on condition of anonymity. They defended her performance, saying that in 2003 she was quick to acknowledge the shortcomings of the agency's work on Iraq and adopted new safeguards intended to prevent future breakdowns.
The changes at the C.I.A. come as the agency is bracing for a wider reorganization endorsed by Congress and the White House that will strip it of its leading status among the country's intelligence agencies. Under legislation signed into law this month, the chief of the C.I.A. will no longer oversee all 15 of the country's intelligence organizations, which include operations in the Pentagon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.
Instead, that power will be transferred to the new post of director of national intelligence, for which the White House has yet to choose a nominee. Administration officials say aides to President Bush are trying to narrow their search, with a decision expected in early January. It is not clear whether Mr. Goss, whose early personnel moves have been sharply criticized inside and outside the C.I.A., will be a candidate for the new job.
Under the new law, the post of director of central intelligence will no longer exist. Among the questions not yet resolved, according to Congressional officials, is whether Senate confirmation would be required for the C.I.A. director.
Ms. Miscik, an economist who rose through the ranks of the intelligence directorate over a 21-year career at the agency, suggested to associates as early as November that she did not expect to stay at the agency under Mr. Goss. But a former intelligence official who worked closely with her said she would have been happy to stay, despite the intensity of the criticism voiced by Mr. Goss and his top aides.
Mr. Goss has not spoken publicly since he took over at the C.I.A., and the agency has announced only a few of his personnel moves. In November, he told the agency's employees to expect more changes in the days and weeks ahead. Several top jobs remain vacant, including the agency's No. 2 post, deputy director of central intelligence, from which John E. McLaughlin resigned early this month.
There was no indication on Tuesday of whom Mr. Goss might name to succeed Ms. Miscik. One of her top deputies, Scott White, left the C.I.A. in November for another government job, leaving Ben Bonk, an associate deputy director of intelligence, as Ms. Miscik's most senior subordinate.
Among those who have criticized the C.I.A.'s analytical unit for its mistakes on Iraq and that country's supposed unconventional weapons, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a scathing report last summer, and a C.I.A. panel, the Iraq W.M.D. Review Group, completed a 10-month internal review last May.
That review, never made public but described in an internal document issued in August, concluded that the assertion that Iraq possessed illicit weapons had been reasonable based on the information available at the time. But the August document also showed that the review found a pattern of "imprecise language," "insufficient follow-up" and "sourcing problems," including "numerous cases" in which analysts "misrepresented the meaning" of intelligence reports about Iraq's weapons.
The August report described the analytical branch as having "never been more junior or more inexperienced" and said that some of the "systemic problems" uncovered might reflect more widespread "tradecraft weaknesses." But in an interview in September Ms. Miscik said she had acknowledged many of the problems in a speech in February 2004 and had put in place new measures requiring that intelligence judgments be subjected to more rigorous review.
The sharpest criticisms of the analytical unit that Mr. Goss and his associates are known to have endorsed were spelled out last spring in a report by the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Goss, then a Republican congressman from Florida, was the chairman of the panel; the report's principal authors were Republican staff members who are now working as senior advisers to Mr. Goss at the C.I.A.
The report did not mention Ms. Miscik by name, but it criticized the intelligence directorate's leadership and senior managers, among other things, for devoting too much time and attention to providing updates for policy makers, thus "squandering scarce analytic resources that could be put to better use."
clean them all out. this is a good week for mass firings, everyone is on vacation, they need not return.
Get rid of all the Clinton holdovers. A Soviet-style purge is just what the doctor ordered.
Good. Accountability is our friend.
Glad it was made public, too.
It is good to see someone having to take responsibility for failure within government. As bureaucratic failure goes, not knowing Saddam's fall-back strategy was pretty huge. The WMD I can forgive, for I think they're in Syria or the sand.
Note that she's an economist. A perfect fit -- considering our current enemy as a GDP of squat damn! For that matter, the CIA was godawful at estimating the size of the USSR's economy.
Note that she's an economist. A perfect fit -- considering our current enemy has a GDP of squat damn! For that matter, the CIA was godawful at estimating the size of the USSR's economy.
I'm sure this is all a good idea, but what I don't understand is why didn't Bush strike while the iron was hot, on 9/12/01? Why leave the whole gang in place for 3 years and then start the heads rolling? Now he is open to all the second guessing of the liberals, everyone's mouth was shut back in 'o1 and NOBODY would have said "tenent should stay" then. Did it really take my beloved W THREE years to figure out we had a bunch of losers at the CIA?
"This is a good week for mass firings, everyone is on vacation, they need not return."
Well, in a holiday spirit the pink slips could wait till Jan 3. One shouldn't be a crocodile.
Looks like a follow up to your very interesting post:
Special Report: US State Dept., CIA War Against Pentagon Breaks Into the Open With Profound Impact on Strategic Policy
Goss really is shaking the place up. Good!
Good riddance. Keep on moving with that mop and broom, Porter.
Good ! The end of the year is the right time to do this. I would've done it earlier, but now's as good a time as any.
not at all, in the modern US corporation, Friday afternoons and holiday periods are the times when they make announcements to clean the place out. the executives get off on giving the employees that extra "kick in the a**".
Ms. Miscik, an economist who rose through the ranks of the intelligence directorate over a 21-year career at the agency,..
I'm not sure she is a Clintonite, but she blew it on pre-war intel.
she's an economist, probably promoted through affirmative action initiatives within the agency. this is who we have running the CIA.
New broom sweeps clean. CIA, NSA and DIA has to be ahead of the game.
Not any more! :^)