The Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed General Michael Hayden as CIA director with a vote of 12 – 3. That’s a pretty strong approval considering all the controversy that erupted early on about having a military man running the civilian CIA.
From the NY Times:
WASHINGTON, May 23 — The Senate Intelligence Committee strongly endorsed Gen. Michael V. Hayden on Tuesday to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, with all but three members, all Democrats, voting to send General Hayden’s nomination to the Senate floor.
The panel’s 12-to-3 vote virtually guarantees that General Hayden will win confirmation by the full Senate, which is likely to vote on his selection before the end of the week.
With the current C.I.A. director, Porter J. Goss, planning to leave the agency on Friday, the White House had urged the Senate to move quickly on General Hayden’s confirmation. The vote on Tuesday came just 15 days after President Bush nominated General Hayden.
Four committee Democrats joined all eight Republican members in endorsing the general. Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas and the panel’s chairman, called General Hayden “a proven leader and a supremely qualified intelligence professional.”
The committee’s vice chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, said General Hayden had shown “the necessary independence that is essential to restoring the C.I.A.’s credibility and stature.”
Of course there were the typical Democrat holdouts that hung their hats on the NSA Terrorist Surveillance program and the Phone Call Database program as reasons for not endorsing him.
The Democrats who voted against the nomination were Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Evan Bayh of Indiana. Each cited concerns about General Hayden’s role in a controversial domestic surveillance program he ran while head of the National Security Agency.
“I am not convinced that the nominee respects the rule of law and Congress’s oversight responsibilities,” Mr. Feingold said.
Senator Feingold decided a while a ago that he was going to play to the far left wing of the Democratic party by pushing the lie that the NSA’s national security programs are illegal. He introduced a motion to censure President Bush for the completely legal NSA Terrorist Surveillance program. His vote against General Hayden was expected.
Jay at Stop the ACLU says the ACLU is alarmed by General Hayden’s approval by the Senate Committee.
John at Power Line notes that even when President Bush’s nominee sails through with such a lopsided vote, CNN still favors the minority opinion.