Porter J. Goss abruptly resigned today as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a post that had been diminished in the restructuring of the intelligence bureaucracy after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. Goss said it had been “a very distinct honor and privilege” to lead the C.I.A. “I would like to report to you that the agency is back on a very even keel and sailing well,” Mr. Goss said. He did not explain his decision, and both he and Mr. Bush ignored questions after making their statements.
But it was no secret in Washington that Mr. Goss and John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence whose position came into existence as the result of the Sept. 11 attacks, had engaged in turf battles. Mr. Negroponte was at the Oval Office announcement, but said nothing.
The C.I.A., whose prestige had suffered from intelligence failures on terrorism and Iraq before Mr. Goss arrived, was further reduced in power and official stature by the reorganization of intelligence-gathering that followed the post-mortems over the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The independent bipartisan commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks recommended the creation of a new post, national intelligence director, that would have supreme power over the C.I.A., the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies in the far-flung intelligence bureaucracy.
Congress accepted that recommendation, creating the new post, which is now filled by Mr. Negroponte, former ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq. He displaced the C.I.A. director as the president’s principal intelligence adviser and took what had been Mr. Goss’s seat at meetings of the president’s key national security aides.
When he took over the C.I.A. in September 2004, Mr. Goss vowed to work hard at “breaking some molds” and getting “more and more of our officers out of Washington.” The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. were both criticized by the 9/11 commission.
Porter J. Goss appears in the Operation 40 photo above that is featured prominently on the cover of Daniel Hopsicker’s book Barry and the Boys.