Viewpoint: The rest of Porter Goss’s story

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-114780365219246.jpg’, ‘Photo from Barry & the Boys by Daniel Hopsicker, available at’, ‘Believed to be in this photo taken at a night club in Mexico City, Jan. 22, 1963, are members of Operation 40. Closest to the camera on the left is Felix Rodriguez. Next to him is Porter Goss and Barry Seal. Frank Sturgis is attempting to hide his face with his coat. Others in the picture are Alberto “Loco” Blanco (third on right) and Jorgo Robreno (fourth on right). (Identification courtesy of’);

The abrupt departure of Porter Goss as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has left in its wake a cloud of speculation about the reasons for his sudden leaving of the post after a little more than a year on the job.

Goss’s leaving was no surprise to most Beltway insiders; it had been rumored for months. There are several different theories as to why he left. The major one spun out for public consumption was Goss and his former congressional aides that he brought to CIA had poor people skills on managerial and personal levels and alienated many of the CIA’s top people. Goss became director of the CIA April 21, 2005, replacing George Tenet, largely seen as a sacrificial lamb for the misinformation on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

Before that time, he represented the 14th Congressional District of Florida for nearly 16 years. He chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997, until he took over as CIA director. He served nearly 10 years as a member of the committee, which oversees the intelligence community and authorizes its annual budget.

But it is Goss’s earlier history that is intriguing and more interesting than his current performance. According to Florida-based investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, Goss once was a member of the CIA’s top-secret Operation 40, a reputed assassination squad operating in North and Central America in the 1960s. Hopsicker alleges it was suspected of complicity in the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy.

At that time, Goss was associated with a number of men who became famous or infamous for their activities and contributed to America’s secret history. A photo, which shows Goss seated at a table near Barry Seals, then the largest drug smuggler in the country then, appeared on the cover of a book titled Barry & the Boys: the CIA, the Mob, and America’s Secret History.

The photo is the only one known of the members of Operation 40. It was taken in a night club called La Reforma in Mexico City. It bears a stamped date: Jan. 22, 1963; 10 months before Kennedy was shot.

Hopsicker notes that Goss was also in proximity to the 9/11 hijackers who used his congressional district in Charlotte County as one of their principal bases of operation.

The 1963 photo reveals a group of Cuban exiles, Italian Mobsters and military intelligence types. It was found among the effects of Barry Seal in a safe belonging to his widow. Hopsicker said a State Department team paid little notice to the picture.

Barry Seal and Lee Harvey Oswald were recruited by CIA agent David Ferrie, also in the picture, during a two-week summer camp of the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol in 1957.

Goss grew up in Connecticut, attended an elite prep school and Yale University. He entered the world of espionage in the shadowy action that took place between the Florida Keys and the Cuban coast after a CIA-backed coup attempt against Castro failed at the Bay of Pigs.

Goss told filmmaker Michael Moore: “It is true I was in CIA from approximately the late ’50s to approximately the early ’70s.”

At the time of the photo, Barry Seal was 24, so was Goss. As noted, the picture shows the notorious “freedom fighter,” Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban vice cop under the Batista government in Cuba who later became involved in Iran-Contra and also was a confidant of George H. Bush.

Across the table, covering his face with his coat is Frank Sturgis, one of the Watergate burglars. Beside him is another espionage agent, William Seymour, who is very familiar to Kennedy assassination researchers. Seymour, according to Hopsicker, was the New Orleans representative of the Double-Chek Corp., a CIA front group used to recruit pilots like Seal. It is said Seymour, on several occasions, impersonated Oswald when Oswald was out of the country.

Although the photo was readily available at the time of Goss’s confirmation as CIA director, the major media showed little interest in it.

After his appointment, Goss found himself frequently paired with another Floridian, Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who then led the Senate Intelligence Committee, investigating the attacks of 9/11.

There was another mutual circumstance on the morning of 9/11. Hopsicker wrote: “When the news [of the attacks on the World Trade Center] came, the two Florida lawmakers who lead the House and Senate intelligence committees were having breakfast with the head of the Pakistani intelligence service.” That man allegedly wired $100,000 to lead hijacker Mohamed Atta.

Beginning in 1981, Adler Berriman (Barry) Seal flew in and out of the airport at Mena, Ark., for several years. Seal flew arms to the Contras in Nicaragua and returned with narcotics. Some of that dope made its way directly to Rockford, and another amount went on to Chicago. Investigators said Seal hauled everything, including pot, cocaine, guns and explosives.

Seal eventually became a federal informant and furnished information that led to the arrest of some prominent Latin drug dealers. In 1986, Seal was shot to death in Baton Rouge, La., by three Colombians; one of them was Pablo Escobar.

Time magazine claims Goss is gone because he lost a battle with John Negroponte, another principal in the Iran-Contra scandals of the ’60s, who is today the director of National Intelligence. Some say Negroponte was fearful that Goss was involved in alleged poker parties for congressmen at the Watergate and that prostitutes and defense contractors were participants. Negroponte reportedly feared the scandal would splatter on him.

Negroponte’s No. 2 man, Gen. Michael Hayden, has been named to succeed Goss. That announcement triggered some resistance from Congress members who oppose the move, saying a military man should not head a civilian government agency.

A contributing factor to Goss’s ouster was his relationship with CIA Executive Director and budget chief, Kyle (Dusty) Foggo. Foggo is mired in the widening scandal swirling around former California Congressman Randy (Duke) Cunningham. The federal bribery case sent Cunningham to prison for eight years.

The FBI is investigating allegations that Brent Wilkes, a CIA contractor and close buddy of Foggo, furnished the CIA executive with illegal gifts, like lavish vacations. Foggo denies he got such gifts, and Wilkes’ lawyer also has denied any wrongdoing by his client.

From the May 10-16, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!