More taking out the trash at the CIA

Per the Washington Post the other day, Porter Gross has that broom swinging again.

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the CIA's counter-terrorism center has been forced to step down as part of efforts by the spy agency to bolster its pursuit of al Qaeda, current and former intelligence officials said on Tuesday.

Robert Grenier, 51, told colleagues in an e-mail on Monday that he had been asked to move on from the helm of the unit that plans and executes CIA counter-terrorism operations and provides analysis on terrorism issues.

It was not clear whether Grenier planned to leave the spy agency and there was no immediate word on who would succeed him in the counter-terrorism post.

The CIA has been criticized for failing to track down al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, who are believed to be somewhere along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

A failed CIA attempt to eliminate Zawahri with a missile strike last month in Pakistan was condemned in Islamabad and set off anti-American protests across the country after 18 civilians including women and children died in the attack.

The CIA's counter-terrorism center has recently lost stature as the result of intelligence reforms that created the National Counter-terrorism Center to oversee strategic planning and serve as a clearinghouse for intelligence and analysis for the entire intelligence community in that area.

An intelligence source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the departure, said Grenier was asked to step aside by the CIA clandestine service chief, whose identity is secret.

"There is a sense that he was not necessarily aggressive enough or forward leaning enough, that this is a good officer but there might be a better choice for this post at this time," the source said.

Grenier, who has been director of the counter-terrorism center for less than a year, had spent much of his career undercover in overseas assignments, often in the Middle East. He was CIA station chief in Islamabad at the time of the September 11 attacks.

Former CIA Director George Tenet named him chief of the CIA's Iraq Operations Group in mid-2002 as the Bush administration moved toward war with Saddam Hussein.

Grenier was not available for comment."

No comment needed. Just more Dust in the Wind.

In related news today, another sack of dust, made his colors known:

"The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade."

I was going to drop the bomb on Pillar, but Clarice Feldman of American Thinker beat me to it.

"Pillar was the top analyst at the CounterTerrorismCenter for most of the 1990s. In April 2001, he published a book, Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy (published by the Brookings Institution). In this book he argued that weapons of mass destruction were less likely to pose a threat than more conventional threats, that terrorism would not ever go away, and that we should work instead to contain it.

He opposed tough approaches to terrorism as too simplistic, arguing for international cooperation and diplomacy. He obviously would be a man more comfortable with John Kerry or any other Democrat in the White House than he would be with the President America twice elected.

Pillar has long been a front line warrior in the CIA’s war on President Bush. "

Like I said here, I expected this, and more to come as the Office gets cleaned out even more.