CIA ShakeupDavid Kaplan and Kevin Whitelaw have more pieces of the puzzle, and provide some intriguing insights about the odd departure of super-spy S
November 22, 2004

CIA Shakeup

David Kaplan and Kevin Whitelaw have more pieces of the puzzle, and provide some intriguing insights about the odd departure of super-spy Stephen Kappes. This just appeared in Monday's issue of U.S. News & World Report.

Here is the enticing opening to a very interesting article:

To those who worked with him, Stephen Kappes seemed the perfect choice to lead the covert side of the CIA in the midst of the war on terrorism. Appointed in June, Kappes, a former marine, is a veteran CIA case officer who served in dangerous and difficult postings in Moscow and Pakistan. More recently, he reported directly to President Bush as the CIA's point man in secret high-stakes negotiations with Libya that ended the rogue state's weapons-of-mass-destruction programs.

So last week, many CIA insiders were astonished when Kappes became an early casualty under the rule of Porter Goss, the recently appointed director of central intelligence. Goss, himself a former CIA case officer who recently chaired the House Intelligence Committee, came into his job in September with a mandate to reform a troubled agency blamed for a series of grave lapses before the September 11 attacks and the Iraq war.

But while Goss was widely expected to shake the place up, the departure of Kappes and his deputy, Michael Sulick, stunned intelligence veterans in Washington, who saw the pair as the most qualified team to lead the CIA's Directorate of Operations in years. "The planets lined up," says Milt Bearden, a 30-year CIA veteran who ran the agency's arming of Afghan rebels in the Soviet war. "You had the right guys in the right job at the right time." Ironically, the two men shared Goss's critique of the CIA's shortcomings.

Says a former top CIA official who worked with Kappes: "These guys weren't in denial that 9/11 and Iraq were intelligence failures."

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