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So, with varying degrees of emphasis, we learn that the WH spin on Goss being fired by John Negroponte because the President was too much of a weenie to do it himself "resignation" is that Goss and Negroponte clashed over power issues.  See CNN, the WaPo and the WSJ for examples of this continuation of the Russert line.

Which explains the immediate, abrupt, surprise "resignation" (with a meeting pending with upper level Pentagon officials who had no idea their meeting was to be abruptly cancelled due to Goss…erm…"resigning" before the start of said meeting) with no successor immediately in place while we are fighting on two hot fronts abroad and dealing with a constantly hyped threat from Al Qaeda…how, exactly?

Something smells. 

With all of the Dusty Foggo hitting the fan last week, you really have to wonder what connection that mess might have, don’t you? From the WSJ today:

Mr. Foggo has been a close friend since junior high school with Poway, Calif., defense contractor Brent R. Wilkes. The criminal investigation centers on whether Mr. Foggo used his postings at the CIA to improperly steer contracts to Mr. Wilkes’s companies.

Mr. Wilkes earlier this year was implicated in the charges filed against Mr. Cunningham, as an unindicted co-conspirator who allegedly had paid about $630,000 in bribes to Mr. Cunningham for help in obtaining federal contracts.

No charges have been filed against Mr. Wilkes, although federal prosecutors in San Diego are working to build a case against him, as well as Mr. Foggo, people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The FBI and federal prosecutors also are investigating evidence that Mr. Wilkes had given gifts to Mr. Foggo and paid for various services for him while Mr. Foggo was in a position to help him gain particular CIA contracts.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Mr. Foggo "denies any improper gifts from Brent Wilkes."  (emphasis mine)

Hmmmmm…"given gifts"…"paid for various services"…"improper gifts"? So that’s what kids are calling it these days.  [NOTE:  Note that the article indicates that Mr. Foggo is under Federal criminal investigation.  Isn't THAT interesting?]

 …and although it is possible that DC area hookers are masters of some type of modified Texas Hold ‘Em, I suppose, I’m thinking that the World Series of Poker isn’t exactly expecting a host of hooker competitors (well, any more than usual, since it is Vegas).

Laura Rozen is having a lot of the same questions.  And Larry Johnson has some choice comments on inept picking of staffers.

You know, in a lot of jurisdictions, poker games for money are illegal, too.  It’s not just the hookers.  Thought I ought to point that out, as a former prosecutor and all — I like poker, play it on occasion in Vegas, but if they were running a high stakes game out of the Watergate hotel with members of Congress and their staffers, that might be of interest to local authorities, too.  I think this story has some more…um…legs, in the days ahead.

And it looks like segments of the Administration (including perhaps Negroponte) are pushing Gen. Michael Hayden as Goss’ replacement.  You may remember Gen. Hayden from such hits as his National Press Club appearance:

The president’s authorization allows us to track this kind of call more comprehensively and more efficiently. The trigger is quicker and a bit softer than it is for a FISA warrant, but the intrusion into privacy is also limited: only international calls and only those we have a reasonable basis to believe involve al Qaeda or one of its affiliates. . . .

QUESTION: Just to clarify sort of what’s been said, from what I’ve heard you say today and an earlier press conference, the change from going around the FISA law was to — one of them was to lower the standard from what they call for, which is basically probable cause to a reasonable basis; and then to take it away from a federal court judge, the FISA court judge, and hand it over to a shift supervisor at NSA. Is that what we’re talking about here — just for clarification?

GEN. HAYDEN: You got most of it right. The people who make the judgment, and the one you just referred to, there are only a handful of people at NSA who can make that decision. (emphasis Glenn Greenwald’s)

If Hayden is nominated, I expect every Democrat on the Intelligence Committee to do their damned job and grill him on every asinine public statement he’s made about this NSA mess. Including his complete misunderstanding of what the 4th Amendment is (via McJoan at DKos):

QUESTION: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I’d like to stay on the same issue, and that had to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American’s right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use —

GEN. HAYDEN: No, actually — the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That’s what it says.

QUESTION: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

GEN. HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: But does it not say probable –

GEN. HAYDEN: No. The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure. . . .

I don’t know about all of you, but I expect people in charge of an entire clandestine service agency to understand the laws of this nation so that they can ensure that the persons under their supervision follow those laws. Hayden is the wrong choice for an agency already in turmoil for the idiotic staffing choices of Porter Goss and his Gosslings — why compound the problem by making an even bigger error?

I mean, honestly, now that we’ve lost some of the most experienced clandestine services officers due to political purging and ego clashes with Goss and his former Congressional staffers turned martinets at the Agency — at a time when we can least afford to lose any intel manpower, I might add — could the Bush Administration be so idiotic as to appoint yet another politically motivated hack to be in charge of things at the CIA?

…oh, wait. It’s the Bush Administration, and a crony appointment, to be vetted by the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress. What am I saying?

UPDATE Josh catches this from Time:  Hayden and Cheney are BFF.  Guess Trigger’s pals are the ones pushing Hayden in the press at the moment.  I’d say I’m shocked, but…well…I’m not.

UPDATE #2:  Some hometown paper perspective on Goss from the St. Petersburg Times — interesting stuff.  And a friend of Goss grades him "a C at best" as DCI.

Among possible candidates are Bush’s homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend; David Shedd, chief of staff to Negroponte; and Mary Margaret Graham, Negroponte’s deputy for intelligence collection.

Interesting that speculation from "friends of Goss" does NOT include Gen. Hayden.  Anyone else sensing an internal power struggle storm brewing on the horizon?

UPDATE #3:  Just to be clear on this, I realized after putting this graphic up that it is blackjack, not poker.  I was just so happy to find a photo that wasn’t incredibly revealing (if you know what I mean), that I missed the cards until I’d already posted.  How embarassing.  Doh!