CIA Director Forced Out

President Bush, right, announces that CIA Director Porter Goss, left, will be resigining in a statement in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 5, 2006 in Washington. AP

The White House plans to quickly nominate a new CIA director to replace Porter Goss, who offered little explanation in announcing his resignation from the embattled agency. CBS News has learned that, despite public posturing by the White House, Goss was forced into resigning his job.

The leading candidate to replace him is Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, top deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, said a senior administration official. An announcement could come as early as Monday.

Hayden was National Security Agency director until becoming the nation's No. 2 intelligence official a year ago. Since December, he has aggressively defended the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. He was one of its chief architects.

While President Bush says the decision for Goss to leave was mutual, CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that U.S. officials familiar with the CIA say Goss was forced out.

Sources inside CIA headquarters tell Axelrod, they couldn't be happier. Goss, a former CIA operative brought in 18 months ago to reform the agency, was disliked intensely. The former congressman was also supposed to smooth over relations between the White House and the CIA, strained in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Agency officials dismissed suggestions that the resignation was tied to controversy surrounding the CIA's executive director, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo. The FBI is investigating whether Foggo's longtime friend, defense contractor Brent Wilkes, provided prostitutes, limousines and hotel suites to former California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who pleaded guilty to taking bribes from Wilkes and others in exchange for government contracts.

Still, it was not clear why Goss resigned so unexpectedly. An intelligence official, speaking only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his position, said Goss had stood up for the agency when there were differences with Negroponte's office, which was created about a year ago.

Goss was taking a stand against "micromanagement," the official said, and wanted the agency to "remain what its name says, the 'Central' Intelligence Agency."

With the backing of the White House, Negroponte recently raised with Goss the prospect that he should leave, and the two talked about that possibility, a senior administration official said. That official also spoke on condition of anonymity, in order to give a fuller account of events.

Negroponte, Goss' classmate at Yale University, said in a statement that Goss worked tirelessly during a CIA transition period. "As my friend for almost 50 years, I will miss Porter's day-to-day counsel," he said.
  • Christine Lagorio

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