Washington The top two officials in the CIA's clandestine service have resigned after confrontations with the agency's new leadership in an unusually public shake-up at the nation's spy service.
The CIA's Deputy Director for Operations Stephen Kappes and his immediate deputy, Michael Sulick, told colleagues at a morning meeting that they were leaving the agency. It's unclear whether they elected to depart.
CIA Director Porter Goss, who took the agency's helm in late September, thanked Kappes and Sulick for their service in a statement released Monday evening.
"The legacy that both officers leave behind them is one of dedication to the covert mission of this agency," Goss said.
Both men were part of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, or clandestine service, which is responsible for covert operations around the globe.
Former agency officials said there were concerns that some officers in the CIA's counterterrorist center, which is under the operations directorate, and elsewhere might be asked to resign.
"It is very fair to say there is tremendous turmoil in the middle ranks of the clandestine service today," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counterterrorism chief. "There may be eight people pushed out."
Signals from elsewhere pointed to internal conflict.
Current agency officials are not allowed to talk with the media without permission, but have been in touch with former intelligence officials. Speaking on condition of anonymity, former officials described intense friction within the agency as Goss gets settled.
Goss was a clandestine officer in the 1960s but also served as a Republican congressman before his appointment.