Porter Goss wrote a memo, and it goes a little something like this (emphasis mine):
"I also intend to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road. We support the administration, and its policies in our work as agency employees. We do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies. We provide the intelligence as we see it -- and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker."
Now, I'll admit that the central message of this paragraph is somewhat unclear. If I were a CIA employee, I might be confused, and uncertain as to how Porter-old-boy wanted me to behave on the job. But, if I were a CIA employee, I'd also be adept at deciphering code, so I'd probably parse it a little and break down the meaning of each sentence (ignoring the introductory one).
The meaning of the first sentence seems clear, and rather sterile: "We back the boss." So far, so good.
The meaning of the second sentence seems connotatively clear ("Any enemy of the boss is an enemy of mine"), but literally ambiguous. Does "opposition" mean (a) Democrats, (b) al Qaeda, or (c) other? If (b), then who in the CIA would need to be reminded that al Qaeda's goals are not aligned with those of the Agency? And if (c), then who is "other?"
The meaning of the third sentence, like the first, seems clear: "We deliver information that is objective and accurate and devoid of political agenda."
So in sum what we have is two almost tautological messages sandwiching one cryptic message. In the intelligence community, meaning is often derived from chatter and noise -- and focus applied to a point of data -- by asking the simple question: "Which of these things is not like the other?"
In this case, it's pretty clear.
So why are Porter's and his porters objecting so strenuously to the media's interpretation of his statement as an attempt to influence CIA output in a partisan way (which would, for obvious reasons, be scandalous)? If it weren't partisan and scandalous, why would someone at the Agency bother to leak it to the press?
And if that third sentence is just so much noise, how can American intelligence be anything but an oxymoron?