The CIA purge of disloyal leakers as told by a leaker

Knute Royce, Newsday:

The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers thought to have been disloyal to President Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the war in Iraq and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

One of the first casualties appears to be Stephen Kappes, deputy director of clandestine services, the CIA's most powerful division. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Kappes tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Goss' chief of staff, Patrick Murray, but at the behest of the White House had agreed to delay his decision until Monday.

But the former senior CIA official said that the White House "doesn't want Steve Kappes to reconsider his resignation. That might be the spin they put on it, but they want him out." He said the job has been offered to the former chief of the European Division who retired after a spat with then-CIA Director George Tenet.

Without confirming or denying that the job offer had been made, a CIA spokesman asked Newsday to withhold naming the former officer because of his undercover role over the years. He said he had no comment about Goss' personnel plans, but said changes at the top are not unusual when directors come in.



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