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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Key Official In Clandestine Service of CIA To Retire


By Dana Priest and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 9, 2005; A05

Robert Richer, the second-ranking official in the CIA's clandestine service, has announced his retirement, telling colleagues that he lacked confidence in the agency's leadership, according to current and former intelligence officials....

...Other government officials disagreed with that assertion and said Richer's departure involved disputes over "operational issues" that they would not specify, and a clash of personalities between Richer, a former Marine, and Goss and his top aides.

Last year, Richer's predecessor and his boss resigned after clashing with Goss's aides. During Friday's meeting, Richer said he and his boss, the deputy director of operations -- who cannot be named because he remains undercover -- had been frustrated by Goss and his staff in their efforts to implement certain measures, sources said.... Richer subsequently met with national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to explain his decision....

Richer has served for less than a year as the number two in the spy service, having been promoted from being chief of the Near East division.