Pelosi Critical of Goss Nomination, Despite Earlier Support

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(1st Add: Includes comments from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's press secretary Jennifer Crider.)

( - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stands opposed to the nomination of Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), an eight-term congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to head the CIA, but just two months ago, a Tennessee newspaper reported Pelosi as saying she would support Goss for the position.

On Tuesday, Pelosi suggested Goss is too "political" to be named director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"But I will say what I said before is that there shouldn't - a person should not be the director of central intelligence who's acted in a very political way when we're dealing with the safety of the American people," she told CNN.

"Intelligence has to be the gathering and analysis and dissemination of information, of intelligence, without any political, any politics involved at all," Pelosi added.

But on June 5, 2004, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Pelosi saying that if Goss were nominated for the post, she would support him, having worked closely with Goss during the congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks.

The newspaper reported Pelosi as saying whoever replaces CIA Director George Tenet "needs to be independent of political pressure" and Goss, having worked for the CIA before being elected to the House of Representatives, has shown that ability as chairman of the House Intelligence panel.

However, a spokesperson from Pelosi's office said the Chattanooga article is incorrect and her office contacted the paper after the article was printed to dispute their reporting of Pelosi's remarks. The paper stood behind its article, she said.

According to Pelosi press secretary Jennifer Crider, the congresswoman, in a June 3rd weekly press conference, "reiterated her concern with Mr. Goss as a potential CIA director replacement."

According to a transcript of the June 3rd press conference, Pelosi was asked about the idea of Goss replacing Tenet as CIA director.

"I have a great deal of respect for Porter Goss," Pelosi said. "He has - you know, has served in the Central Intelligence Agency. I think that whoever replaces Mr. Tenet should be an independent Director of the Central Intelligence Agency."

"Meaning that Mr. Goss would not be able to?" the reporter asked.

"You interpret it," Pelosi replied.

"She [Pelosi] never said she supported Mr. Goss. ? And from that, that incorrect Chattanooga Times article ran, in which we called and explained to them that it was inaccurate, and they felt that they could stand by it," said Crider.

The paper's reporting of Pelosi's comments was "completely incorrect and based on this June 3rd press conference," Crider said.

She added that "that's the only story [that reported Pelosi as supporting Goss for CIA director].

"You can do a search of every other reporter who covered this at the time and nobody else derived that she supported Porter Goss," Crider said. All the other media outlets that covered the press conference reported that Pelosi was critical of a possible Goss nomination, she added.

See Earlier Story:
Bush Nominates Goss to Head Central Intelligence Agency (Aug. 10, 2004)

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