Sunday, May 07, 2006

New CIA director?

He hasn't been nominated yet, but the scuttlebutt is on that Bush's new pick to head the CIA will be Air Force General Michael Hayden, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte's top deputy.

This has some legs, given that the CIA is now subordinate to Intel Czar Negroponte and that friction between he and Goss may have played a role in the latter getting his walking papers.

Hayden ran the super-secret NSA from 1999 until last year, when he signed on as Negroponte's deputy.

This would be key, from Negroponte's point of view, in that there would be no problems or questons in the chain of command.

Whoever is the next CIA director faces an uphill battle. The agency has lost a lot of its prestige, top people, and credibility since the reorganization of the intelligence services based on the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

Senate confirmation is likely to be a difficult for Hayden. He's seen as a staunch defender of the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program, which he says has been used only to try to capture Al Qaeda-related terrorists, and lawmakers' questions about it can be expected to be partisan and hostile.

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