US President George W Bush has unexpectedly announced that CIA chief Porter Goss is stepping down.
Porter Goss's resignation surprised friends and pundits alike
The White House has denied US media reports that the president had lost confidence in Mr Goss, who had served in the role for less than two years.
Below is a selection of US reaction to the sudden departure.
DAVID IGNATIUS, WASHINGTON POST
In at least one office at the agency, and I suspect many more, there were quiet cheers. The Goss years have not been happy ones at the CIA.
Goss was dumped by a president who doesn't like to fire anyone. That was a sign of how badly off track things had gotten at the CIA.
Goss and his aides were feuding with the agency's staff and with officials of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the new bureaucratic canopy that overlays the CIA and 14 other intelligence agencies.
One of Goss's senior aides was facing potential legal troubles in a bribery investigation; another he had brought over from Capitol Hill was scrambling to submit his resume to investment banks and other potential employers.
Against this background, a White House emboldened by new chief of staff Josh Bolten decided it was time for "executive action," the euphemism the CIA once used for taking someone out.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The most distressing news would be if Mr Goss is a victim of those parts of the permanent intelligence bureaucracy that resisted his tenure from the start...
With many in the agency clearly in revolt against the Bush Doctrine, Mr Goss was sure to be a political lightning rod. It would be a bad sign if his abrupt departure means that the bureaucracy got its man.
In any case, Mr Goss clearly lost out in the intelligence reorganisation demanded by Congress and which has so far been a royal mess.
This is not the fault of Mr Goss, who took the CIA job before the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 became law.
That brainstorm - promoted by the 9/11 Commission - created a directorate of national intelligence that was supposed to help us detect and repel any future surprise attacks.
[T]he DNI has become another new intelligence bureaucracy - another layer on top of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and so on - just as critics of this reform predicted.
NEW YORK TIMES
There is no question that the Central Intelligence Agency needed revitalisation and reform after the successive catastrophic intelligence failures of 9/11 and the phantom Iraqi weapons programmes.
But Porter Goss never seemed like the right man for the job.
His abrupt departure yesterday, after an unusually brief tenure that will be remembered mainly for poor morale and an obsessive campaign against people suspected of leaks and whistle-blowers, largely confirms that judgement.
The best explanation of Porter Goss's resignation yesterday as director of the Central Intelligence Agency comes from a statement that a California congresswoman made last week, before Goss's 20-month tenure came to its abrupt end.
''Our intelligence reorganisation is in a slow start-up," said Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, ''and the CIA is in free fall."
MARK LOWENTHAL, FORMER CIA OFFICIAL, LA TIMES
He took over for a guy there [former CIA Director George J Tenet] who was there for seven years and was very popular, when the agency was being beaten up for 9/11 and Iraq.
And he took over during this long, drawn-out transition to the DNI [director of national intelligence].
I don't care what your talents are, that's extremely difficult.
ADMIRAL STANSFIELD TURNER, FORMER HEAD OF CIA, BBC
There's too much speculation going on.
It seems to me that Porter Goss was a candidate for the job that John Negroponte got.
I think Goss probably didn't want to be second in command in the system.