Two chiefs of overseas divisions at the CIA are leaving, according to a federal official — the latest changes at the spy agency that has has been in turmoil since new Director Porter Goss took over.
The chiefs of the Europe and Far East divisions — two critical regions of the world for the spy agency — are retiring, the official told The Associated Press Wednesday night on condition of anonymity. The departing CIA officials’ names were not released because they work undercover.
The two officials were in the highest level of clandestine service, the directorate of operations, The New York Times reported on its Web site Wednesday night.
The retirements come almost two weeks after two other top officials — CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations Stephen Kappes and his immediate deputy, Michael Sulick — announced they were leaving the CIA.
Earlier this month, the agency’s No. 2 official, John McLaughlin, also retired, citing personal reasons.
The agency has been heavily criticized for prewar intelligence lapses in Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It’s unclear whether Kappes and Sulick resigned voluntarily or were asked to step down.
Former officials have described intense friction within the agency with Goss now in charge. And some say there are concerns that more officers at the CIA’s counterterrorist center and elsewhere may be asked to resign or told that they no longer have a future at the agency.
Some following the agency shakeup feel that Goss is making personal changes, as any incoming director would. To others, Goss’ aides are employing a brusque management style that is alienating career officials with decades of experience.
Goss made waves with the clandestine service even before he was nominated to head the CIA.
Officials as senior as former CIA Director George Tenet fumed over legislation written and approved by Goss’ committee this summer, which said the clandestine service “needs fixing” and warned the agency could become a “stilted bureaucracy incapable of even the slightest bit of success.”