Directing the CIA

Porter Goss escaped from (or was kicked out of) the directorship of the CIA. This, as is usual for the Bush Administration, took place on a Friday in the hopes that people were paying more attention to their need to get to their second job to make ends meet and not to the actions of government. Whether this worked or not is debatable, but the announcement did leave us with a pressing question: who will replace Porter Goss?

Air Force General Michael V. Hayden is the President's appointment.

has write up on the possible outcomes of his nomination:

Republican sources told TIME that the White House plans to name his replacement on Monday: Air Force General Michael V. Hayden, who as Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence has been a visible and aggressive defender of the administration's controversial eavesdropping program. His nomination is sure to reignite the battle over the program on Capitol Hill, where one House Democrat promises "a partisan food fight" during the confirmation process.
Congress may remember Hayden from his testimony on October 17, 2002 when he said this:
GOSS: OK, my second question, then. General Hayden, you said something about bin Laden coming across the bridge, hypothetical, of course. But I take that to mean that if bin Laden did come there would be capabilities that we have that we can use elsewhere in the world that we cannot use in the United States of America. Is that correct?

HAYDEN: Not so much capabilities, but how agilely we could apply those capabilities. The person inside the United States becomes a U.S. person under the definition provided by the FISA Act.

GOSS: Well, lets — again, I don’t want to get into details. I’m aware of the public nature of this meeting. But let’s just suppose this sniper [in the United States] is somebody we wanted to catch very badly. Could we apply all our technologies and all our capabilities and all our know how against that person? Or would that person be considered to have protection as an American citizen?

HAYDEN: That person would have protections as what the law defines as a U.S. person. And I would have no authorities to pursue it.
Congress, along with the rest of the country, has learned that isn't true. Hayden had, at Bush directive, engaged in warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

The Fraud and False Statements statute makes his statements illegal. From ThinkProgress:
At the time of his statements, Hayden was fully aware of the presidential order to conduct warrantless domestic spying issued the previous year. But Hayden didn’t feel as though he needed to share that with Congress. Apparently, Hayden believed that he had been legally authorized to conduct the surveillance, but told Congress that he had no authority to do exactly what he was doing.
The Washington Post reports that despite Hayden's efforts to build ties to with congress, the fallout from his misleading statements may end up making his confirmation extremely difficult. The political culture of midterm election season and intense dislike of Bush by the majority of Americans won't help either.
On Dec. 17, 2005, when the existence of that program was revealed in the New York Times, Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence panel, called Hayden on her cellphone.

The general was on a family outing in Annapolis, but told Harman he would drive back to Washington to brief her and any intelligence panel colleagues on the program. He promised to be there in two hours. Harman began organizing for a briefing, but within the hour Hayden called and canceled. "The White House yanked his permission to do so," Harman said in an interview.
All of this is ignoring the biggest reason why Hayden shouldn't be director of the CIA: He's an Air Force Genereal. I'm not the only one noticing that having a career military officer in charge of the CIA doesn't do much to reign in Rumsfeld's creeping powers at the Pentagon. Susan Collins, Republican from Maine said,
"[T}o send a signal of independence from the Pentagon, General Hayden may want to consider retiring from the Air Force."
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI):
"I do believe he's the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time. We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time."

With Hayden's confirmation, all of the major spy agencies would be under the control of military officers.

I go back to my analysis that this confirmation hearing will be bad for Bush and for Republicans. First, they'll give Senators of both parties an opportunity to question Bush's warrantless spying program - an oppurtonity to show that they are not Bush lackeys and to show their constituents that even if the midterms are a 'referendum on Bush' that they should be sent back to Washington.

Second, to save his administration, Bush should be doing everything to push the nations views forward, into the future and away from the collection of failures that are in the past. A confirmation hearing will dredge up old problems for Bush. This is especially true for Hayden because he was involved in things Bush would rather not be talking about. If Bush had brought in a true outsider, some of that could have been avoided.

This nomination is just one more example of how Bush (and his Administration) have ossified. There will be no major change in thought or policy for the next three years. Any change in personnel will be promotion from within or incorporating someone who already agrees with the Neo-Con line.

No comments: