By
updated 11/15/2004 7:26:57 PM ET 2004-11-16T00:26:57

Two of the nation's top spies resigned Monday — the latest in a major upheaval at the Central Intelligence Agency that includes one of the CIA's foremost experts on Osama bin Laden.

Michael Scheuer, the CIA officer who led a secret unit to hunt down Osama bin Laden, now says he's not confident the world's leading terrorist will be caught anytime soon.

"I'm not confident at all. Osama bin Laden is not — as it's commonly pictured — running from cave to cave, and rock to rock," says Scheuer. "He probably hasn't moved around all that much since 2001, because there's really very little military pressure on him."

Scheuer, who previously criticized the CIA in his anonymously published book "Imperial Hubris," resigned from the agency last week, coming out of the shadows to debate conduct of the war on terror.

The CIA has been hit hard by departures in the seven weeks since Director Porter Goss took over. A dozen top officials have retired, been fired, or abruptly resigned, including Monday’s resignation of two top spies who run the critically-important clandestine service.

"The CIA is really being decimated now by Porter Goss," says Ron Kessler, author of the book 'A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush.' "People simply don't want to work there, they are looking for jobs. Why should they continue working for someone who treats them in such a nasty way?"

Some top former CIA officials complain that Goss' aides are political partisans, who treat professional intelligence officers with disdain.

But Scheuer and others say change is needed and Goss deserves a chance.

"I think morale could be better, yeah. I think to some extent morale is bad. But I think what Mr. Goss, in a sense, is inheriting, is 10 years of frustration," says Scheuer.

Still, the chaos at the CIA is so public that the White House recently got involved to "smooth the waters." A Bush administration official says the president believes change is needed, but does not want the upheaval to distract from fighting the war on terror.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments