Monday, May 08, 2006

Bush Nominates Mr. NSA Spyman Hayden....

President Bush nominated Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to be the new CIA director
May 8.

Hayden, the deputy director for national intelligence and former director of the National Security Agency, is expected to draw resistance from both parties in Congress.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is raising concerns about NSA’s program of warrantless wiretapping of Americans suspected of terrorism. He told
“Fox News Sunday” on May 7 that he will use Hayden’s nomination hearing to find out more about the program.
It’s our committee’s responsibility to see that what is going on is constitutional,” Specter said. “We haven’t been able to do that. There’s no doubt there’s an enormous threat from terrorism, but the president does not have a blank check.”

Democrats also will likely raise questions about secret prisons the CIA operates abroad to hold terrorism suspects.
And House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., told the Fox program he objects to a uniformed member of the military running the CIA.
Bottom line, I do believe he’s the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time,” Hoekstra said.

Six military service members have previously run the CIA — the most recent was retired Navy Adm. Stansfield Turner, who served under President Carter — but Hoekstra said this is a bad time to repeat that. The Defense Department has pushed for more power over intelligence, which has created tension between the Pentagon and the intelligence community. Naming Hayden would create the perception that the CIA is taking orders from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Hoekstra said.

Putting a general in charge is going to send the wrong signal through the agency here in Washington, but also to our agents in the field around the world,” Hoekstra said.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a May 8 statement that Hayden should resign his military commission. But Hoekstra said that would not be enough to erase the perception of Pentagon influence over the CIA.
Hayden would replace Porter Goss, who resigned May 5 after 18 months on the job. Goss has pledged to remain in his post for a few weeks to ease the transition to a new director.
The White House and CIA refused to give an explanation for Goss’ resignation. Bush praised Goss for his work integrating the CIA into the intelligence community and for forming a plan to boost the number of analysts and operatives. Goss said in his statement that the CIA has improved training, hired more employees and elevated the role of alternative analysis.
But Goss angered many inside the CIA by purging the agency’s upper ranks within months of taking control. Some critics charged that Goss was trying to make it compliant to the White House.
Goss himself had expressed some fatigue at the pace of his new job. The Associated Press reported in March 2005 that Goss called his post “too much for this mortal” and said he was “a little amazed at the workload” during an address in Simi Valley, Calif.
In that speech, Goss also said the massive intelligence reorganization created confusion about his role and relationship with Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, Rumsfeld and other top intelligence officials.

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