Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Case for Michael Hayden as CIA Director

Everyone seems to be all over Michael Hayden for his role in the secret NSA wiretapping program and the fact that he's a military figure pegged to head a top civilian agency.

While there's no debating the charge about Hayden's troubling participation in the illegal NSA wiretapping program, foreign policy guru Steve Clemons has been making a strong case over the past couple days for why Hayden's nomination for CIA director is actually a good thing.

Clemons argues that Hayden's military credentials do not mean he's a Rumsfeld lacky. As Clemons wrote yesterday:

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Hayden going to head CIA is John Negroponte's effort to wrest some of the ground back from Rumsfeld in the intelligence wars underway. Hayden directed the National Security Agency before joining Negroponte as his Deputy. Hayden will still report to Negroponte -- and Hayden's familiary and expertise with the military dimensions of intelligence will help Negroponte set Rumsfeld back a few squares.

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Clemons goes on to discuss how Rummy has been making more and more headway into intelligence affairs, much to the dismay of Negroponte and other civilian officials.

And rather than further the Pentagon's influence, the well-respected Hayden -- who currently works as Negroponte's deputy -- would serve as a firm counterweight to the inroads made by Rummy and the Pentagon into the intelligence world that was previously CIA territory.

In another post today, Clemons links to an alarming article from last month that demonstrates exactly the type of headway the Department of Defense has made thus far into the intel sector.

On April 3, Rummy directed the establishment of intelligence operations centers at two different DOD locations -- one in the US and one in Korea. These centers essentially take the operational intelligence tasks out of the hands of the CIA and put them under the Pentagon's direct control.

If Hayden can indeed help to counteract this trend, then perhaps he would be a strong pick as CIA director. At the very least, he deserves serious consideration.

As Clemons concludes: "[Congress needs] to wake up, study the gaming going on, and understand that while they may not like Hayden -- something needs to be done to balance the deck between Negroponte and Rumsfeld."

We should all do the same.

1 Comments:

Blogger proletariat said...

Seth,

If Clemons argument holds up why has Negroponte stated his willingness to hand over all covert powers to the Pentagon. If this were not so I could see your point. Also the need of a buffer between Negroponte and Cheney is certainly not because of policy differences. Negroponte implementation of the Cheney doctrine goes all the way back to the 80's. It seems to me the struggle in the end is much more about power, control, and personality than different policy outcomes or approaches.

Hayden's stand on the 4th amendment is totally unacceptable. He lunps soccer moms, mall shoppers, and terrorists into the same category. He further believed any spying on citizens only had to meet his interpretation of reasonableness. He further argued that probable cause is no where in 4th but a result of bad court decision.

May 10, 2006  

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