Representative Pete Hoekstra opposes Hayden as next CIA director

Posted by: ST on May 7, 2006 at 2:22 pm

An interesting development:

May 7 (Bloomberg) — The chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee urged the White House not to nominate Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Hayden to head the civilian Central Intelligence Agency.

Hayden, 61, a veteran intelligence official, is likely to be nominated, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, a senior administration official said May 5.

Hayden is principal deputy director in the Office of National Intelligence, the agency recently created to coordinate a wide array of U.S. intelligence functions now carried out by more than a dozen civilian and military units. Previously he served as director of the super-secret National Security Agency, which runs massive electronic surveillance programs over international communications.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Mike Hayden, and he’s done a good job, but I do believe he’s the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican. “We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time.”

Tension between Defense Department and civilian intelligence agencies is high now in the wake of spying failures before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and during the run- up to the Iraq war, Hoekstra said. Hayden’s nomination would imply that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has too much power over intelligence, the chairman said.

“Putting a general in charge, regardless of how good Mike is, is going to send the wrong signal through the agency here in Washington and also to our agents around the world,” he said.

Watch Rep. Hoekstra (R-MI) on Fox News’ Chris Wallace show today, discussing this issue.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has issues with it as well:

A second committee member, GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss (news, bio, voting record) of Georgia, added, “I think the fact that he is a part of the military today would be the major problem.”

Question of the day: Are Rep. Hoekstra and Sen. Chambliss right or wrong here? I think they’re right, but I’d like to read your thoughts.

Others blogging about this: Captain Ed, AJ Strata, Riehl World View

Related Toldjah So posts on Hoekstra and the CIA:

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11 Responses to “Representative Pete Hoekstra opposes Hayden as next CIA director”


  1. stoo says:

    “Question of the day: Are Rep. Hoekstra and Sen. Chambliss right or wrong here? I think they are, but…”

    You think they are what? ;)

    Me, I think the General is wrong for the position because he’s a SIGINT guy, and the CIA (as I’ve always understood it) is HUMINT.

    Further, I’ve never been comfortable with a diplomat in charge of the extra layer of bureaucracy that is NIT, so having the 2nd in command of that organization take over seems like a win for the bureaucrats, rather than for our intelligence efforts.;)

  2. Oops! Thanks for pointing out my faux pas, stoo – I corrected it :">

  3. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    Why do we have to have the CIA at all? All they do these days is spill national security secrets to the MSM and other terrorist organizations, overpay “analysts” to write anti-Bush drivel, and send spouses on taxpayer-funded junkets to ignore evidence of WMD and lie to the American people (we won’t mention any names here – like Joe Wilson’s and Valerie Plame’s for example).

    I say the next director should call a general staff meeting, and when everyone is inside the building construct a wall around the place and rename it “Spook Hill Maximum Security Federal Prison”. That would be the biggest blow to Islamofascism since we liberated Iraq from Saddam.

  4. Pam says:

    I think we need General Hayden in the position. The CIA is most definitely lacking in leadership and discipline. The CIA, imo, is an intelligence gathering source that should be working hand in hand with the military as well as the NSA,FBI and Homeland Security. General Hayden is already a proven leader because of his military career. I am of the opinion that some of the Congressmen speaking out are more worried of votes in November, rather than looking at the big picture. This GWOT is going to be a long running battle. Let’s at least look at putting a person in the job that will do all they can to assure domestic stability while at the same time limiting any military involvement. Let’s look at a person that can lead. This statement by Hoekstra leads me to conclude that we need a man like Hayden in the agency. Maybe that is what it will take to assure that we don’t face such catastropic failures in the future. Maybe we need to clean the agency out.

    Tension between Defense Department and civilian intelligence agencies is high now in the wake of spying failures before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and during the run- up to the Iraq war, Hoekstra said.

  5. Pam says:

    P.S.- I think this article about Hayden sums him up

    Matthew Aid, a historian who is writing a book on the NSA, said when a deputy director resisted change at the agency, Hayden sent her to London to fill a liaison job with the British.

    Aid said Hayden’s transfer of the deputy to London came about because the subordinate was leading the opposition to changing the NSA _ from a Cold War agency that intercepted radio communications to one the lives in the world of the Internet and cell phones.

    That is what I want to see. I want to see that we are operating in the present.

  6. – Normally I’d tend to echo the questionable action of assigning a military head over the CIA, for reasons of civilian control issues. But.

    – Since there is a great deal of talk of simply doing away with the CIA entirely, since as others have pointed out its become a haven for left-wing ideologs, more intent in subversion of any Conservative administration than actual humint work.

    – Given that its in total disarray, probably all but dysfunctional, and will most likely spend its days trying to “prove” it didn’t jump the shark in terms of intelligence leading up to 9/11, its not clear what function, if any, it performs at this point.

    – I would guess the good Senators are being a little reactionary because one of their own, Goss, was pushed out. The congressional denizens always like to think they’re the last bastion of governmental oversight, which in view of their own house-not-nearly-in-order problems is laughable at times.

    – You also may see some voices being raised as the inside anti-Bush cabal try to “push-back” by calling in Congressional markers in a last ditch effort to maintain the good old boy club.

    – Bang **==

  7. Pam says:

    Bang- great points raised. I need some help understanding something here: you and others say that the CIA is a civilian org, (obviously that would mean non-military)but aren’t the actions or non-actions in direct correlation to the military? I do understand the need for seperate divisions, but if that division is so great that you work against each other, what good is the organization? The example I would cite is the USS Cole. Had the CIA been on top of the plot, wouldn’t the military have stopped it? Or even finding Bin Laden. The CIA does the info gathering, but the military carries out the seek and capture. The only time it would not be involved totally would be on US soil. It would be the FBI, Police and military.

    I must say that I have less faith in our intelligence gathering capabilities than I ever have. I really do believe that Cheney was right when he said that our intelligence gathering orgs(of 9/11/01) were operating under cold war conditions. They basically were stuck in a time warp and it was 1983!

  8. – Historically the CIA was an outgrowth of OSS, the covert operations directorate under FDR during WWII. It has always been a super secret org. operating on its own under civilian control, overseen by congress, and reporting directly to the Executive. Intra-ops with the military were very stand-offish, with requests for particular intel by the State department or DoD, on a case by case basis. The idea being our most secret of governmental ops should never be allowed to be mis-used or deverted from civilain control. Ironically its the types of “walls”, or safe-guards that were erected over the years that probably layed the groundwork for the advent of 9/11.

    – Its a difficult and problematical issue, having and maintaining enough intra-departmental cross talk, but maintaining absolute autonomy. Most of the time its a mixed bag, with concantimont mixed results, but post Berlin wall, as you pointed out Pam, there was a tendency to maintain rather than modernize and meet the changing nature of insurgency non-symetrical warfare.

    – The same was true of the military in general, and why you seeing such a sour-grapes backlash from some retired Generals against Rumsfield. No one likes change, but some like it even less when they see the structure of something they hold near and dear, very understandibly, going through wide-spread cahanges. But in spite of feelings there just comes a time when its neccessary.

    – Another irony was that the original covert Ops, OSS, was very much more independent than even the CIA has been, but those were the days when a persons love of America was way higher than any political dogma.

    – Bang **==

  9. – BTW FOX is reporting that the President will formally announce General Hayden to the head of the CIA tomorrow morning, so its official. I’m not so sure there will be fireworks as much as a few more exposures and possible reporters being called to task, but in the end the org may go out with a whimper.

    – Bang **==

  10. Bachbone says:

    If congressional naysayers manage to derail Gen. Hayden’s appointment, I suggest the president immediately nominate Lt. Gen. Russell Honore. Gen. Honore made a terrific showing cleaning up the New Orleans (Katrina) mess, does not suffer fools calmly or gladly, and seems to be in the Rumsfeld mold. I’d love to watch Gen. Honore tell a bloviating congressional committee it was “stuck on stupid.” General, I would salute you!

  11. forest hunter says:

    MD: I think you’re onto something. Well at least, I can think of at least 2.5 million reasons why you’re onto something, to Plame bare mininmum. Did I mention my new fictional book?