Old Spies Never Die; They Just Outlast Political Bosses

Sep 14, 2007 4:18pm

A longtime CIA hand who resigned in November 2004 rather than bow to what he viewed as unprofessional management has returned from retirement to head the National Clandestine Service and to again work directly for the man who had resigned alongside him. On Friday, CIA director Gen. Michael V. Hayden sent a message to the agency workforce heralding the return of Michael Sulick as director of the National Clandestine Service, the operational branch of the nearly 20,000-employee agency that is home to its approximately 2,000 spies and reports officers. The 2004 resignation of Sulick, then an assistant deputy director for operations, was well-documented at the time, as was that of his boss, Steve Kappes, whose rank then was deputy director for Ooerations — the same job Sulick will now hold. Hayden’s first very public move upon his appointment as head of the spy agency in May 2006 was to announce the return of Kappes. The move was widely viewed inside the agency as a statement of Hayden’s intent to restore professionalism and morale. At the time the resignations occurred, they were characterized in the press and by multiple ABC News sources as part of an open rebellion by senior- and middle-level intelligence officials against the manners and methods of then-CIA Director Porter Goss’ hand-picked deputies, particularly chief of staff Patrick Murray.  Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. In addition to Kappes and Sulick putting in their papers, the confrontations also led to the resignation that November of John McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was deputy director, the post Kappes now holds. McLaughlin resigned after warning Goss that Murray, a former Capitol Hill staff member, was "treating senior officials disrespectfully," the Washington Post noted. Sulick’s return comes following the internal announcement that Jose Rodriguez, the most recent head of the operational branch, has decided to retire. Sulick has served the spy agency as assistant deputy director for counterintelligence, chief of station in New York and in Moscow and as head of a Langley-based "Russia House" that oversaw a variety of Soviet bloc operations. "I am very happy to announce that Michael J. Sulick has accepted my offer to head the National Clandestine Service. A 25-year veteran of CIA, Mike is a familiar figure to many of you," a memo signed by Hayden stated. "He has spent more than a decade in assignments abroad for the Agency, including senior command positions. Mike has also excelled in crucial assignments here at Headquarters." Since his retirement, Sulick has been a consultant to private business and has lectured on intelligence topics at universities, agencies and corporations, the memo noted.  "Mike will be a powerful addition," Hayden’s memo said. "He knows that espionage demands constant change and adaptation. His commitment to the men and women who do the difficult job of intelligence — his determination to create the conditions for excellence — is profound and enduring." Click Here to Register to Receive Blotter Alerts.

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