PORTER GOSS HAS RESIGNED as CIA head. He was always a transitional figure, there to clean up the Tenet mess, but I suspect there’s more to it than that because I don’t think that mess has been cleaned up. Regardless of the reasons for Goss’s departure, I believe that Bush will continue to regret not doing a major housecleaning in late 2001/early 2002 (and not just at the CIA), when he had the political mojo to do it. More here.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall says it’s all about the hookers. You’d think that someone with hooker issues wouldn’t pass the security clearance — but then, look at all the other people who’ve made it past the background checks.

UPDATE: At RedState they’re speculating about a connection to the Florida Senate race. And others are at least raising the question. Hmm. Beats me.

Meanwhile a roundup of rumors and speculation here, with this observation:

Following so close to the McCarthy story makes this interesting. If it’s corruption then this is huge, if he’s being painted with Cunningham’s tainted brush and being linked to prostitutes when in fact he has nothing to do with the Watergate-redux than I’d say the CIA cabal theory of things becomes less a tin foil hat scenario than we previously thought.

Hmm. Well, stay tuned.

MORE: Here’s a roundup of reactions, leaning toward the “transitional” theory:

This isn’t a “staff change”, it has nothing to do with Rove. It was understood when he came in what he was coming in for. He did what he came to do.

He swept, now others will collect the dust.

Let’s hope. Seems to me that there’s more sweeping to do, but maybe the new broom will do it.

MORE STILL: “The leak-plugging bastard!”

STILL MORE: The Wall Street Journal reports:

The agency also has been drawn into a federal investigation of bribery that has sent former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham to prison. Just this past week, the CIA confirmed that its third-ranking official, a hand-picked appointee of Mr. Goss, had attended poker games at a hospitality suite set up by a defense contractor implicated in the bribing of former Rep. Cunningham. Friday, people with knowledge of the continuing Cunningham inquiry said the CIA official, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, is under federal criminal investigation in connection with awarding agency contracts.

Mr. Bush didn’t immediately name a successor to Mr. Goss. Current and former intelligence officials speculated that one likely candidate would be Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland-security adviser.

When Mr. Goss took over the CIA in September 2004, officials said they hoped he would bring rigor to an agency that had suffered tremendous morale problems in the wake of intelligence failures before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the run-up to the Iraq war. But instead, problems at the agency seemed to multiply, as insiders criticized the rigid management style of the former CIA agent and Florida Republican congressman. Mr. Goss was thought to have hastened the brain drain at the agency by reassigning much of its upper echelon when taking over, installing a new crop of managers.

Current and former federal intelligence officials familiar with Mr. Goss’s thinking say the former congressman had become disenchanted with his diminished role after Mr. Negroponte, a veteran national-security official, was appointed to run the new White House intelligence directorate, and had complained that he no longer felt he had the support he needed from the White House to turn the agency around.

Scandal, turf wars, or both? I’m betting both. If “insiders” were unhappy with Goss’s style, that seems to me to be a good thing, but I’m wondering if the CIA isn’t beyond repair. I also wonder if the Negroponte shop isn’t intended to gradually replace the CIA, relegating it to back-office status over time.

Time, meanwhile, says that Goss’s replacement will be Gen. Michael Hayden, and says that Goss’s resignation was the result of a turf war between him and Negroponte. Plus, “one House Democrat promises ‘a partisan food fight’ during the confirmation process.”

Nice to see some people handling national security matters with their customary degree of maturity.