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Porter Goss’s handling of the CIA is really pissing people off.

With two more CIA staff jumping ship, administration and Hill folks are worried about the floodgates opening. And it looks like “Big Dick” Cheney is trying to strongarm people that told the truth about the lack of connection between Iraq and 9/11. Four more years of this is going to destroy any chance we have at shoring up security against terrorism.

The CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations Stephen Kappes and his immediate deputy, Michael Sulick, told colleagues Monday morning that they were departing the agency, which was 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.

Both men were part of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, or clandestine service, which is responsible for covert operations around the globe.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, former officials 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.

“It is very fair to say there is tremendous turmoil in the middle ranks of the clandestine service today,” said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counterterrorism chief. “There may be eight people pushed out.”

Cannistraro said there is concern within the agency that Vice President Dick Cheney is ordering changes to avenge leaks to the media indicating there was no connection between former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida terrorists. A spokesman for Cheney did not return a call seeking comment.

Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that while changes were necessary at the CIA, Goss needed to take ‘immediate steps to stabilize the situation … and he must provide some explanation for this rash of departures among senior officials.’

You’ve also got Goss’s former colleagues trashing his legacy in the House; the gloves are off now:

The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, California Rep. Jane Harman, said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday that the situation at the CIA was largely the product of ‘a highly partisan, inexperienced staff’ that Goss brought with him.

‘Many of us worked with that staff in the House. Frankly, on both sides of the aisle in the committee, we were happy to see them go,’ she said. “

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding