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A Spy Returns to the CIA Fold Print

Jun 4, 2006 - By TIMOTHY J. BURGER

Since Air Force General Michael Hayden was tapped on May 8 to head the CIA, there has been much speculation that Stephen Kappes, a former CIA operations chief fluent in Farsi and Russian, might leave a lucrative private-sector post to return as Hayden's deputy.

As reported on TIME.com last week, a June 1 London Stock Exchange filing by ArmorGroup International, a London-based security firm where Kappes has worked since April 2005, confirms that he plans to rejoin the CIA. The company said Kappes "will be leaving the Group in early June 2006 to accept the position of deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency."

Kappes would rejoin a CIA that has changed considerably since he quit in November 2004 after a management dispute with Porter Goss, Hayden's predecessor. Earlier in 2004, Kappes had suggested to Congress that the CIA boost overseas spy placement about 10% by 2010, says a person familiar with his proposal. But after Kappes said he was quitting, President Bush ordered a speedy 50% boost in the spy corps. And officials say that Goss, in his 18 months, increased postings abroad nearly 20% while opening or reopening nearly 30 CIA offices around the world.

Many career spooks are said to be thrilled by the symbolism of bringing back a man who stood up to the unpopular Goss, who quit last month. But the return of Kappes, who declined interview requests last week, is receiving some mixed reviews. An official says that because of his stiff bearing and often militaristic management, the devoutly Catholic ex-Marine is referred to by some career CIA officers as the Great Santini, an allusion to the obstinate title character of the 1979 film. And House Intelligence Committee chairman Peter Hoekstra worries about installing military and intel insiders such as Hayden and Kappes. The White House has "raised the white flag on reform," he says. "Claim a win for the bureaucracy at the CIA." 

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