House Intel Panel Chief Opposes Hayden
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 51
WASHINGTON - A leading Republican came out against the
front-runner for CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden,
saying Sunday the spy agency should not have military
leadership during a turbulent time among intelligence
Members of the Senate committee that would consider
President Bush's nominee also expressed reservations,
saying the CIA is a civilian agency and putting Hayden
atop it would concentrate too much power in the
military for intelligence matters.
Bush was expected to nominate a new director as early
as Monday to replace Porter Goss, who abruptly
resigned on Friday.
But opposition to Hayden because of his military
background is mounting on Capitol Hill, where he would
face tough hearings in the Senate Intelligence
Despite a distinguished career at the Defense
Department, Hayden would be "the wrong person, the
wrong place at the wrong time," said the chairman of
the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Peter Hoekstra
(news, bio, voting record), R-Mich.
"There is ongoing tensions between this premier
civilian intelligence agency and DOD as we speak,"
Hoekstra said. "And I think putting a general in
charge regardless of how good Mike is ... is going
to send the wrong signal through the agency here in
Washington but also to our agents in the field around
the world," he told "Fox News Sunday."
If Hayden were to get the nomination, military
officers would run the major spy agencies in the
United States, from the ultra-secret National Security
Agency to the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The Pentagon already controls more than 80 percent of
the intelligence budget.
"You can't have the military control most of the major
aspects of intelligence," said Democratic Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (news, bio, voting record) of California,
who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The CIA
"is a civilian agency and is meant to be a civilian
agency," she said on ABC's "This Week."
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."
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., mentioned fears the CIA would
"just be gobbled up by the Defense Department" if
Hayden were to take over.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he
would view a Hayden nomination as a way to get
information from the Bush administration about its
secretive domestic surveillance program, undertaken by
the NSA when Hayden led that agency.
The warrantless monitoring covered electronic
communications between people in the United States and
other parties overseas with suspected terrorist links.