WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee for CIA director, could be his own worst enemy when it comes to making the case that he deserves to lead the U.S. intelligence agency.
"I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified," the Florida Republican told documentary-maker Michael Moore's production company during the filming of the anti-Bush movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."
A day after Bush picked Goss for the top U.S. spy job, Moore Wednesday released an excerpt from a March 3 interview in which the 65-year-old former House of Representatives intelligence chief recounts his lack of qualifications for employment as a modern CIA staffer.
"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."
Goss, who served with the CIA clandestine services in Latin America and Europe in the 1960s, was not immediately available for comment.
The White House dismissed the Moore interview transcript as "ridiculous hearsay" and emphasized the depth of bipartisan respect for Goss on Capitol Hill.
"Porter Goss has very strong support from Republicans, and Democrats including Sen. Bob Graham of Florida," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Graham is the former head of Senate intelligence.
"No one's really questioning his qualifications. Even people who say he's too political for the job say he has qualifications for the job," Duffy added.
Goss appears in Moore's film, the most financially successful documentary in history, during a segment devoted to the USA Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism measure.
Moore told Reuters that Goss, who until Tuesday was chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 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.
Goss is expected to appear at confirmation hearings before the Senate intelligence committee next month.
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