President Bush Wants General Hayden as CIA Director

President Bush nominated General Michael Hayden as CIA Director.

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday chose Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to lead the embattled Central Intelligence Agency, re-igniting a debate over the domestic surveillance program that the onetime head of the National Security Agency once ran.

Republican and Democratic critics also questioned the wisdom of putting a military officer in charge of the civilian spy agency.

“Mike Hayden is supremely qualified for this position,” Bush said in the Oval Office, with Hayden at his side. Without mentioning Hayden’s critics or their objections, the president said: “He knows the intelligence community from the ground up.”

General Hayden is a superb choice for several reasons:

  1. He used to run the NSA and the terrorist surveillance program, so he is an expert in these areas.

  2. His nomination will bring to the surface those lawmakers who are for a strong national security, particularly the terrorist surveillance program, and those who are not. With the November elections approaching, the American people will need to know this information.
  3. He is a military man. In spite of the claims from Rep. Pete Hoekstra that this is a problem, many military men have run the civilian CIA. I’m hoping General Hayden can infuse into the CIA two very important things it needs: discipline and loyalty.

Some Republicans are concerned about Hayden’s being in the military, as if that sets some kind of scary precedence. It doesn’t. James Joyner at Outside the Beltway provides a list of all former CIA directors. Upon a cursory review, it’s hard to miss the fact that many, if not most, former CIA directors were military officers.

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  • scsiwuzzy

    The CIA
    My concern is that Hayden has very little background in humanint, having come from signals.
    Otherwise, he seems like a very good choice.

  • Semanticleo

    Apologies for the long entry, but context is
    everything isn’t it?

    QUESTION: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I’d like to stay on the same issue, and that had to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American’s right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use –

    GEN. HAYDEN: No, actually — the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure.

    QUESTION: But the –

    GEN. HAYDEN: That’s what it says.

    QUESTION: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

    GEN. HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

    QUESTION: But does it not say probable –

    GEN. HAYDEN: No. The amendment says –

    QUESTION: The court standard, the legal standard –

    GEN. HAYDEN: — unreasonable search and seizure.

    QUESTION: The legal standard is probable cause, General. You used the terms just a few minutes ago, “We reasonably believe.” And a FISA court, my understanding is, would not give you a warrant if you went before them and say “we reasonably believe”; you have to go to the FISA court, or the attorney general has to go to the FISA court and say, “we have probable cause.”

    And so what many people believe — and I’d like you to respond to this — is that what you’ve actually done is crafted a detour around the FISA court by creating a new standard of “reasonably believe” in place of probable cause because the FISA court will not give you a warrant based on reasonable belief, you have to show probable cause. Could you respond to that, please?

    GEN. HAYDEN: Sure. I didn’t craft the authorization. I am responding to a lawful order. All right? The attorney general has averred to the lawfulness of the order.

    Just to be very clear — and believe me, if there’s any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it’s the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. And so what you’ve raised to me — and I’m not a lawyer, and don’t want to become one — what you’ve raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is “reasonable.” And we believe — I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we’re doing is reasonable.

    ***

    Here’s the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. “

  • Lee

    Bush is throwing the military leadership a bone by appointing Hayden. Since Bush’s alibi is that the intelligence commmunity got us into this war thorugh bad info, and the generals are pissed about it, letting a military man step in appeases the military brass.

    QUESTION: But does it not say probable –

    GEN. HAYDEN: No. The amendment says –

    and

    “Just to be very clear — and believe me, if there’s any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it’s the Fourth”

    What a good little Bush lap dog. Wow, I’m glad he made his “intelligence” quotient clear on that issue.

  • jp2

    “terrorist surveillance program”

    Hilarious, Kim.

    Yes, it’s sad when the CIA director nominee doesn’t even know our 4th Amendment. But in the Cult of Bush, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter that Bush has shown such poor judgement with other nominees – like Brownie, or Goss, or Miers. This is the perfect man for the job because the President says so. End of story.

  • Lee

    “This is the perfect man for the job because the President says so.

    Yes, and Bush is the “deciderer” (sic), isn’t he? LOL

  • mantis

    Upon a cursory review, it’s hard to miss the fact that many, if not most, former CIA directors were military officers.

    Apparently your review was very cursory. From the list you posted, 6 of 20 former CIA directors were military officers, and only two of those have served in the time since the end of the Korean War, the last being under Jimmy Carter (how’d that work out?). So 30% total, and 2 of the last 16, and you call that many if not most?

    I’m not saying that the director of the CIA shouldn’t be a military officer, necessarily, just pointing out that Kim is talking out her ass.

    Also, one would think that whoever takes the position should be familiar with the Bill of Rights.

  • patrick

    Harriet Miers is the best choice for supreme court.

  • docjim505

    Heard a funny thing today on the radio. Somebody asked San Fran Nan point-blank if she would end the Sooper-Seekrit-Scary-NSA-Snooping program. You know, the illegal one that violates the Fourth Amendment? You’ll never guess her answer:

    “No.”

    Hilarious, no? Here we are, getting ready to pillory Gen. Hayden for his role in bugging sweet Aunt Sally’s telephone, and the House Minority Leader – in common with the rest of her caucus, apparently – wouldn’t end the program if it was up to her.

    Kind of makes you wonder just how “illegal” it is, eh?

  • Lurking Observer

    docjim:

    I’ll bet this is part of what the Left keeps saying about “It’s not our job to come up with programs.”

    It must not be their job to end illegal programs, either.

    One wonders, though, if they’re this feckless and useless, why they would ask to be briefed on the NSA program in the first place?

  • Drew E.

    I actually think this is a valid pick. At least he has some experience which was so obviously lacking in Goss. I am concerned that again we find ourselves in neutral while plans to attack Iran in some manner are certainly in motion.

    Goss’s departure was too sudden for whatever reason.
    I suspect it is a parting shot from Rove, before he leaves under indictment, to make National Security a political issue during confirmation.

  • Semanticleo

    Kind of makes you wonder just how “illegal” it is, eh?

    Maybe we should get rid of the Internet because
    of all the spammers and jammers

  • Lurknig Observer

    Semantic:

    So, are you suggesting that the leader of the Democratic Party in the House, the person who would next be Speaker of the House, is nothing more than a spammer?

    What does that mean, that she has no need to know the law?

  • Semanticleo

    Lurknig Observer

    Can’t speak for the Speaker

  • docjim505

    LO,

    I don’t know why they bother getting briefed. According to what Rockefeller and Harman have both said, they are too stupid and ignorant to understand what’d being said to them unless they have hoardes of staffers to explain it all to them.

    Oh, and I’m glad you also seem confused about Semanticleo’s comment… ’cause I SURE don’t get it.

    Semantic, what’s your point?

  • Semanticleo

    LO and doc;

    Hint; Don’t suggest the only solution is to throw
    the baby out with the bathwater. A constitutional
    NSA program is doable, but not easy enough for
    GWB, who’s cut corners his entire life.

  • docjim505

    Leo,

    What I’m suggesting by my earlier comment is that the current program is NOT unconstitutional. It if were, then don’t you think that at least the dems would want it shut down? But they don’t.

    The whole “unconstitutional” meme is nothing more than another political gambit by the left to discredit and smear Bush.

    In fact, I believe that there have been former FISA judges (who can be expected to be constitutional experts) who have stated before Congress that FISA is unconstitutional as it limits the president’s Article II powers and responsibilities. (I bring up FISA because that’s sort of the Holy Grail to the libs).

    I look forward to seeing this debate play out in the Senate. If all goes well, the dems will show their true colors: stupid, uninformed, and far less interested in national security than in playing politics.

  • virgo1

    The next Speaker cant even speak for the Speaker? lunatic.

  • Wayne

    Some have been screaming that the Intel agencies haven’t been cooperating enough and now they complaining because they don’t want one person from one agency to transfer to another and want the agencies to be completely independent of each other. They need to make up there mind.

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