Fred Kaplan makes it clear that he does not think much of the “co-sponsor of the bill extending the Patriot Act II”, or of the president’s decision to tap him as the next DCI.
His analysis of the reason behind the decision itself is spot-on:
[The Senate Intelligence Committee] would have to confirm Goss’ nomination before he could take the job. And here’s where the picture gets strange. It is extremely doubtful at this late date that the committee would—or physically could—hold confirmation hearings before the November election. Even if hearings were somehow rushed (say, for “national security” reasons), and if Goss won the vote, he would be essentially powerless at least for a while: Any big changes he might order would be ignored until after the election, because everyone at Langley would know that Goss would get the boot if Kerry won.
So, why is Bush nominating Goss now? One possible answer: to create the impression that he’s moving forward—that he’s doing something—in the war against terrorism. The president took a similar step last week when he announced with great fanfare the creation of a national intelligence director, as recommended by the 9/11 commission—but without giving this NID any of the statutory powers that the commission said would be needed to make the post meaningful.