McCain plans to purge CIA if elected, officials say
John Byrne
Published: Sunday November 2, 2008

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) plans to "purge" the CIA if elected Nov. 4, according to a report Sunday, potentially returning the agency to a model used during World War II.

Government officials, speaking anonymously to Newsweek, "said they expect a President McCain would purge not only [CIA Director Michael] Hayden but also his two top deputies."

McCain's overall plan could be even broader -- the destruction of the entire agency in favor of a "cover-ops outfit" patterned on the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA former during World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Little noticed comments McCain made last year called for "a small, nimble, can-do organization," that "could take risks that our bureaucracies today rarely consider taking."

Campaign spokesman Brian Rogers told Newsweek that McCain "hasn't talked about personnel at all, and has not gone into details" about his plans for the nation's top spy outfit.

Obama's campaign, meanwhile, has said little, but campaign officials didn't downplay suggestions that they'd replace Hayden, who was instrumental in the development of President George W. Bush's National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program.

"Inside the various agencies, trepidation is widespread," the magazine said. "The last thing American intelligence needs is another shake-up," one official said, noting that the previous reorganization "is barely two years old. It's still shaking out, and it can be made to work better than it does now--without using a chain saw."