WASHINGTON – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss said Friday he will run for re-election so he can pursue efforts to improve the nation's intelligence system, postponing plans to retire even though his term as chairman is expiring.
"People in high office have asked me to continue what we have started in the House by taking an in-depth look at the system that governs our intelligence and national security organizations and working on recommendations which would make the system more efficient and effective," he said.
"It is difficult to walk away from that kind of request," the former CIA officer said in a statement.
House rules limit members to six years as chairmen of any one committee, and that was part of the reason he had planned to retire.
"I had to be sure that there would be a real opportunity to play a meaningful role if I stayed in Congress," the Florida Republican said, apologizing to constituents and those who would like to run for his seat for "taking so long to come to my decision."
The Intelligence Committee limits its memberships to four terms -- eight years -- during six consecutive Congresses. Most congressional panels have no such limits, and lawmakers sometimes must stay on them for decades to achieve leadership roles.
Goss was one of a number of candidates President Bush's advisers contacted a year ago about replacing George Tenet as CIA director. There were no takers and Tenet has since cemented his position with Bush.
Goss, first elected to the House in 1988, said last July that he was reconsidering his decision to retire, but that was prompted by fears over redistricting of his Fort Myers district, not intelligence matters.