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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.
Related Toldjah So posts on Hoekstra and the CIA: