Ex-CIA leader lobbying Congress for Turkey

Ex-CIA leader lobbying Congress for Turkey
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Former CIA Director Porter Goss has decamped to K Street and is now lobbying Congress on behalf of Turkey.

Lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro inked a deal with the former spy chief and Republican lawmaker late last month, and quickly had him register to represent the country on Capitol Hill, according to recent disclosure documents.

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Goss’s job is to “[p]rovide counsel in connection with the extension and strengthening of the Turkish-American relationship in a number of key areas that are the subject of debate in Congress,” Goss said in the registration form. 

Additionally, he is tasked with “[e]ducating Members of Congress and the Administration on issues of importance to Turkey” and “[n]otifying Turkey of any action in Congress or the Executive Branch on issues of importance to Turkey.”

Turkey is one of the U.S.’s most important allies as it seeks to confront a brutal civil war in Syria and the rise of Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq. More than a million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Turkey since the violence began in 2011, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.

The U.S. and Turkey have sparred on how to deal with the complex string of crises, however, with differences of opinion on whether to focus efforts on taking down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or work parallel with Assad to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Goss is not listed as a lobbyist for any other of Dickstein’s extensive roster of clients, which includes Luxembourg as well as a renewable fuel group and dog track operators.

The hire came after heightened criticism around the centennial anniversary of Turkey’s massacre of more than 1 million ethnic Armenians. Turkey has long refused to refer to the killings as a “genocide,” and has spent heavily to encourage its allies in Washington to see that point of view. 

Since 2008, Turkey has spent more than $12 million on lobbying, including massive contracts with the law firm run by former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt (Mo.).

Goss was the final director of central intelligence, from 2004 to 2005, and subsequently served as the first ever director of the CIA when the position was created.

Before that, he represented a Southwest Florida district in the House for 16 years.

 

Megan Wilson contributed