Thursday, August 12, 2004
More fun with Michael Moore for Porter Goss
Porter Goss, retiring Republican Representative from Florida and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was selected Tuesday by Bush as his pick to become Director of the CIA.
Goss achieved a certain amount of infamy in Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. As USA Today reported it, Goss asserted on camera that
Americans with concerns about the U.S. intelligence network can call a toll-free 800 number.
Moore informs viewers there is no such number and instead displays the phone number to Goss' office in the Cannon House Office Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol.1
This resulted in a deluge of calls to Goss's office. And Goss's response is more fun than the film. His spokesperson Julie Almacy said,
Goss didn't mean to imply an 800 number really exists. She said he was referring to the intelligence committee as if it were a "help line" Americans could call with concerns they have about the Patriot Act or other aspects of U.S. intelligence gathering.
"It is a reference to the intelligence committee," Almacy said. "Mr. Moore decided to take it literally and it wasn't meant that way."
Well, gee. How could Moore have been so dumb as to confuse a reference to an 800 number with a very poor metaphor for the House Intelligence Committee!
So in a moment of channel-surfing yesterday, I hit upon CNN, probably picking up a story from Reuters,2 which was saying that Goss's nomination to CIA Director may be in trouble. It seems that Goss specifically spoke to the matter of his qualifications for the CIA in Fahrenheit 9/11:
"I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably," Goss is quoted in an interview transcript.
"And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day: 'Dad you got to get better on your computer.' Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have."
Moore told Reuters that for Fahrenheit 9/11,
Goss granted an interview to two of his producers without first checking to see who they worked for.
"You'd think the person who was the head of the intelligence committee would ask a few more questions," said Moore.
"The reality is that Porter Goss was in charge of the oversight of the CIA during a time when the CIA didn't do its job, which in part resulted in the loss of lives of 3,000 people," he said via telephone from New York.
A White House spokesman declined to comment specifically on the Goss interview but described the lawmaker as "the most qualified man for the job."
They say that no manager ever wants an employee more competent than the manager himself. In Bush's case it must have been difficult to find someone sufficiently "credible" while meeting the requirement of sufficient incompetence. He's found his man in Porter Goss.
1 I tried to locate a transcript containing this text. A right-wing blogger supposedly posted the complete transcript at "Red Line Rants," but a perusal showed that it is not a complete transcript and in fact omits the Porter Goss segment entirely. [back]
CNN has posted a number of transcripts from yesterday's news relating to Goss, but has not posted this segment. I was struck by the fact that they had not bothered to acquire the videoclip for the segment. It would have been quite dramatic, not to mention newsworthy. [back]