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Sunday, September 16, 2007
Examiner's Scarborough Attacks New CIA Official
Topic: Washington Examiner

In a Sept. 14 Washington Examiner article, national security reporter (and former Washington Times writer) Rowan Scarborough disparagingly portrays new CIA clandestine service head Michael J. Sulick.

Scarborough's attack comes in a defense of former CIA director Porter Goss, calling Sulick "a CIA retiree who left Langley in 2004 to protest reforms launched" by Goss; the article's headline reads, "Spy who left CIA in huff returns as head of clandestine service." Scarborough goes on to describe the "huff" incident this way:

In an incident that symbolized Goss' rocky tenure at CIA, Sulick quit in November 2004 as associate deputy director of operations (now the clandestine service) rather than except a transfer to New York.

Goss and his team of ex-congressional aides were trying to transform the clandestine service into a more productive branch and decided to replace Sulick with their own appointee. Sulick called Goss' chief of staff a "Hill puke," tossed a memo at the aide and stalked out of the room. 

Scarborough offers no attribution for this version of events -- unusual since it is not common knowledge or necessarily the undisputed depiction of what happened. The "Hill puke" statement has also been reported by Time and the Weekly Standard; both attributed the claim to anonymous sources, all the more reason for Scarborough to state where his version of events is coming from.

Further, Scarborough's simplistic description of the event -- leaving the impression that a hot-headed Sulick fought Goss' noble attempts to make the CIA "more productive" -- leave out details other have reported about Sulick's relationship with the CIA under Goss. Here's Time's description of things:

[Stephen] Kappes [then-clandestine service chief] and his deputy, Sulick, complained in a meeting with Goss and Patrick Murray, Goss's chief of staff, about Murray's pointed critique of a Sulick memo laying out a proposed D.O. outreach program for members of Congress. Twice in that session, Sulick tossed pieces of paper at Murray. After Goss left for another meeting, Sulick, who is in his 50s and is a Vietnam vet, told Murray, who is 40, that he wasn't going to be treated like some "f___ing Democratic Hill puke," says a CIA source. Disturbed by the episode, Murray asked Kappes a few days later to reassign Sulick. Kappes refused, and the two took their dispute to Goss, who told both men to work things out. The matter festered over a weekend, and when Kappes came to work on Monday, he told Goss he and Sulick would be resigning. Goss tried to persuade Kappes to stay on, says a CIA source, but both men quit anyway.  

Kappes has also returned to the CIA as deputy director; we're guessing that grates on Scarborough's nerves as much as Sulick's return.

Note that Scarborough in his article did not identify Murray by name, calling him only "Goss' chief of staff." Murray, the former Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, was indeed one of several of what the Washington Post called "Hill staff members" who followed Goss, a former congressman, to the CIA. The Post added that these staffer were "not well regarded by senior officials because they lack managerial and operational experience, and are believed to have treated career officers disrespectfully."

Further, Newsweek reported:

One former CIA official told NEWSWEEK that Murray leaned on him more than once to declassify information so he could use it to "embarrass the Democrats." Murray was irritated when the agency declined. He regarded much of the CIA as a nest of obstructionist bureaucrats, time-servers who had schemed to undermine the administration's policies—especially in Iraq. 

There's a lot that Scarborough left out of his article. But he's apparently in the tank for Goss and filled with animosity for career CIA employees like Sulick and Kappes. In a Human Events interview with Scarborough to promote Scarborough's new book, "Sabotage: America’s Enemies Within the CIA," Jed Babbin summarized the book as "mak[ing] the case that the CIA is a rogue agency, not answerable to the president. That they’re not following his policies or trying to support him in this war." Scarborough went on to say in the interview: "When Porter Goss took over the CIA in 2004, really trying to reform it, what happened? He died by a million leaks. It was a cut every day, until Porter Goss by 2006 actually was forced out."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:11 PM EDT

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