Sunday, December 04, 2005

Get That Man a Bigger Shovel

When Porter Goss became director of the CIA, it was clear that he faced a massive job: reinvigorating a moribund agency that had lost its way, both in terms of intelligence collection and finished analysis.

Since arriving at Langley, Goss has taken on the agency's ossified bureaucracy, and (predictably) the bureaucrats have fought back, largely through a series of well-time leaks, designed to discredit the Bush Administration's War on Terror, and Goss's internal reform efforts.

Goss is making progress, but the battle is far from won. As Mona Charen reminds us, the leak culture is alive at well at Langley, as evidenced by last week's disclosure of CIA interrogation centers in Europe, and flights of agency aircraft that delivered Al Qaida suspects to those facilities.

Getting rid of the leakers and "independent foreign policy advisors" at Langley is a daunting task, rivaling Hercules's efforts to clean the Augean Stables. According to Greek mythology, Hercules completed that task only by diverting to rivers to clean out the accumulated muck and filth. Rerouting the Potomac is not an option for cleaning up Langley, but Mr. Goss could use a bigger shovel, in the form of expanded Justice Department investigations to find and punish leakers. As long as there is no penalty for divulging classified information, the leaks will continue, and reforming the CIA will prove that much more difficult.

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