Turf Wars at CIA

What’s going on inside The Company?

The deputy director of the CIA resigned yesterday after a series of confrontations over the past week between senior operations officials and CIA Director Porter J. Goss’s new chief of staff that have left the agency in turmoil, according to several current and former CIA officials.

John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was acting director for two months this summer until Goss took over, resigned after warning Goss that his top aide, former Capitol Hill staff member Patrick Murray, was treating senior officials disrespectfully and risked widespread resignations, the officials said.

Yesterday, the agency official who oversees foreign operations, Deputy Director of Operations Stephen R. Kappes, tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Murray. Goss and the White House pleaded with Kappes to reconsider and he agreed to delay his decision until Monday, the officials said.

Several other senior clandestine service officers are threatening to leave, current and former agency officials said.

The new resignations follows yesterday’s announcement that Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, was quitting. Scheuer wanted to speak more openly about what he sees as the government’s failure to understand the threat from Al Qaeda.

It appears on the surface to be a case of heavy-handed management, but is something bigger going on here? Are certain ideologies being purged from the CIA?

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