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Goss Secures Leadership Team at CIA

Monday is Day One of a new era at the Central Intelligence Agency (search) as director Porter Goss (search), on the job for four months, finally gets his leadership team in place.

The time since Goss' swearing-in has prove rocky for an agency still reeling from its failure to warn of the Sept. 11 attacks and its flawed prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons.

More than a dozen senior officials have left since Goss arrived. The messy details of some internal battles have seeped into the news.

Critics have complained that Goss, a former Republican congressman who served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, politicized the agency by hiring GOP aides.

Goss' allies say wholesale changes were essential after the intelligence failures of Sept. 11 and Iraq.

"You couldn't expect anybody to have the same leadership in place and improve the operation of the agency," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a Goss friend and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"While it's been very controversial, Porter had to make some change of people, who were good people and individually they were nice people, but the job wasn't getting done," Chambliss said.

Among the new hires, Goss is making 30-year CIA veteran John Kringen (search) the head of the Directorate of Intelligence, the agency's analysis division. That move on Monday means Goss will have in place all the division chiefs he has chosen.

Goss kept one holdover from the seven-year tenure of former CIA Director George Tenet - science and technology director Donald Kerr (search).

Goss, a CIA operative in the 1960s, got a mandate from President Bush and the Congress to tackle tough intelligence changes. Eyes are on where Goss takes the agency.

The CIA director has said he intends to improve the risky work of using people to steal secrets - human-intelligence gathering - and bolster language capabilities. He wants to improve the quality of intelligence analysis reports and hopes to change a culture that he considers averse to risk.

A counterterrorism official said Goss is collapsing layers of bureaucracy, so that the operatives in the field are closer to the decision-makers at CIA's headquarters. "Changing a risk-averse culture doesn't take a lot of money. It takes a change in senior management," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Others say the changes Goss is proposing are not new at all. The former head of the clandestine service, Jim Pavitt (search), said his division had pushed for more people and money for human intelligence for the past five years.

"Stop the nonsense about risk aversion," Pavitt said. "The new director and his staff did not come with this group of people and create this strategic vision for doing espionage better. It is something we were doing for a long time. We were fighting for dollars. We were fighting for people. You don't do it overnight."

"If risk aversion means fear of taking a physical risk, on my watch, I buried too many of my officers" to say that was a problem, said Pavitt, who always counted Goss as a friend and wants to see the agency succeed.

Goss, 66, is tackling intelligence issues at a difficult time.

Military operations around the globe require close collaboration of the intelligence community, including the nine intelligence agencies that answer to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

While conflict is inherent in any relationship between the Pentagon and the spy agency, intelligence officials say suggestions of feuding are greatly exaggerated.

There's also significant uncertainty about the shape of the intelligence community, given the December passage of the most sweeping intelligence legislation in over 50 years.

With the bill came a new pre-eminent intelligence position - director of national intelligence - who is supposed to coordinate the work of all 15 U.S. intelligence agencies.

It is unclear whom Bush will choose for the job, a search that's in its eighth week. Among those thought to be in the running are Army Gen. Tommy Franks, the retired commander of U.S. Central Command, and National Security Agency head Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden.

Goss's job includes putting in place the requirements of that bill by setting up a new National Counterterrorism Center (search) and establishing the foundation for the new intelligence chief, including staff, facilities and budgets.

Goss, who oversees all U.S. intelligence agencies, also handles the daily coordination among top officials. He has given speeches to members of the work force at the FBI (search), National Security Agency (search) and elsewhere. In a new step, he's holding meetings with the agencies' directors every four weeks to six weeks.

The view in some intelligence circles is that Goss is not putting in the long hours necessary for his formidable task. But officials close to the director point out that his day typically starts with a briefing for Bush and ends with extensive reading after leaving the office.