Naming General Hayden CIA head is dangerous

11 May 2006 - 4:30pm

Air Force General Michael Hayden former head of NSA, now named as Director of CIA

by Juan Wilson on 11 May 2006

For six years, up unto a year ago, General Michael Hayden was the Director of the National Security Agency. The NSA is the primary eavesdropping, and code-busting agency in America. It's operations have been as closely held a secret as the special operations of the spooks in the CIA.

Hayden was the man in charge of the NSA during George Bush's first term in office and was responsible for providing some critically bad information and advice to Bush on the WMDs in Iraq, the nuclear capability of Saddam Hussein and perhaps most importantly, the operations of the NSA to spy on Americans in conjunction with the major phone companies.

With the sheepish compliance of ATT, Bell South and Verizon, these particular NSA activities have collected telephone call records on tens of millions of Americans. These wiretaps have been shown to be blatantly illegal.

It may be that Hayden has been named head of CIA to help solidify the positions of those in power who have made the terrible decisions that have brought us into the quagmire of Iraqnam. What better way to keep the lid down on the crapper than to name the idiot-in-charge chief-secret-keeper.

When the criminal hearings on the NSA wiretaps begin I imagine everything will have been shredded and re shredded.

This is not the only problem naming an active military general head of intelligence at a time when the Defense Department wants more control over the flow of information. We can be sure that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will need his ass covered when it all hits the fan.

Another aspect of Hayden's appointment is the smell of fascism... and it is not just me. Jack Cafferty on CNN said today that he hopes nothing happens to Senator Arlen Spector, because he has promised to hold hearings on the use of the phone companies by the NSA and maybe the only one standing between us and a dictatorship in America. Click on image for Quicktime video.

If you don't remember what a dictator looks like check out this 1945 picture of Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer of the Schultzstaffel (commander of the SS - defense squadron). The SS was in effect an elite political party within the German military. Do these guys always look so nerdy?

The NSA's Massive Database & The Fight to Stop It by Shayana Kadidal on 11 May 2006 in the

USA Today is reporting that top telephone companies are helping the NSA build a "massive database of Americans' phone calls," with a goal of tracking "every call ever made" in the U.S.

This is the Bush Administration's surveillance program exposed. It's not about terrorists. It's not about security. And it's definitely not about that Constitution that administrations are supposed to follow.

It is about massive, big brother surveillance of law abiding American citizens. As USA Today explains:

"The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans -- most of whom aren't suspected of any crime".

The article says AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth are all involved. That's one reason that people have been calling on AT&T to come clean on its role in warrantless spying for weeks, as I explained in a recent post. AT&T has caught extra flak because a former technician came forward as a whistleblower, exposing how the company helps the NSA conduct massive, vacuum cleaner domestic spying without warrants. The New York Times reported that the technician has internal company documents describing "a mysterious room at the AT&T Internet and telephone hub in San Francisco" filled with "equipment capable of monitoring a large quantity of e-mail messages, Internet phone calls, and other Internet traffic."

Congress should subpoena the CEOs of these companies to explain exactly what the Bush Administration asked them to do, and what kind of domestic spying they are assisting.

President Nixon used to say if the president does something, it's not illegal. The Nixon standard was widely rejected. Is the Bush standard that if the President asks you to break the law, then it's not illegal either? I think that would be widely rejected too.

And that's not the only domestic spying news today. Seventy two members of Congress just filed papers in support of the Center for Constitutional Rights' challenge to the domestic spying program (CCR v. Bush). I have been working on that case for months, and this action is not only a sign of growing support, it also rebuts the administration's claim that somehow Congress declared open season for surveillance when it authorized the war in Afghanistan. The brief reiterates that Congress made all warrantless spying illegal and the NSA is currently breaking the law. Then it runs through the legislative history of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan, proving that Congress never authorized the warrantless spying program. Like our lawsuit, the U.S. Representatives' brief asks the court halt the illegal spying program immediately.

It was organized by Congressman John Conyers, the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. (As HuffPo readers know, that committee has jurisdiction over wiretapping laws and impeachment.) Here's what he said about it today:

"...this Congress dealt with this issue authoritatively almost 30 years ago - warrantless spying on American soil is flatly prohibited. As members of Congress, we have a special interest in ensuring that the President faithfully executes the laws we have passed. The Church Committee spent years investigating the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in the mid-1970s. After receiving testimony from hundreds of witnesses, issuing 14 reports and collecting over 50,000 pages of records, this Congress carefully crafted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. To this date, that law stands as the exclusive and exhaustive authority to wiretap Americans in the name of fighting terrorism."
We will keep arguing these points in federal court. The defendants in our case don't even deny that the program does warrantless surveillance. President Bush and General Hayden have admitted they are spying on Americans without warrants, and we will keep fighting to stop them.


General Formally Named to Lead CIA

by Peter Baker & Charles Babington on 9 May 2006 in the Washington Post

The White House moved quickly yesterday to defuse concern over the nomination of Gen. Michael V. Hayden for CIA director, promising to balance the leadership of the nation's premier civilian spy agency with a well-known and popular veteran of the organization in the No. 2 position.

In a highly unorthodox move, the White House disclosed the plan shortly after President Bush's formal announcement of Hayden's nomination in the Oval Office, in hopes of reassuring those worried about too much military influence over the intelligence community.

Under the plan, Vice Adm. Albert M. Calland III would be replaced as deputy director by retired CIA official Stephen R. Kappes, who quit in November 2004 in a dispute with then-Director Porter J. Goss.

The move was seen as a direct repudiation of Goss's leadership and as an olive branch to CIA veterans disaffected by his 18-month tenure, during which many other senior officials followed Kappes out the door. The White House was so eager to get out the news of Kappes's likely appointment that it was announced from the lectern in the briefing room, even though the Senate has not yet confirmed Hayden and Kappes was officially described as "the leading contender" for the job.

Other Goss lieutenants at the agency also appear to be on the way out, following Goss, who resigned Friday. Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, brought in by Goss as the CIA's executive director -- its No. 3 official -- announced to agency staff in an e-mail yesterday that he plans to resign as well. The FBI said it is investigating whether Foggo steered contracts to a friend, Brent R. Wilkes. The CIA confirmed last week that Foggo attended private poker games with Wilkes at a Washington hotel.

The moves are part of a concerted effort by the president's team to recover ground after several key Republicans expressed reservations about Hayden's nomination over the weekend, citing his military background and involvement in warrantless domestic surveillance. Most damaging to the White House was criticism by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the House intelligence committee chairman, who called Hayden "the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Without naming Hoekstra, Bush appeared to directly rebut him yesterday while appearing with Hayden before cameras in the Oval Office. "He's the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation's history," Bush said.

Bush also reached out to the skeptical CIA workforce, which has gone through years of tumult since the failure to stop the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the flawed assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. "In Mike Hayden, the men and women of the CIA will have a strong leader who will support them," Bush said.

Hayden, wearing a pressed blue Air Force uniform with four stars on the shoulders, also tried to reassure the civilian spies.

"If confirmed, I would be honored to join you and work with so many good friends," he said. "Your achievements are frequently underappreciated and hidden from the public eye, but you know what you do to protect the republic."

But Hayden, the deputy national intelligence director and formerly head of the National Security Agency, declined to retire his military commission, as several senators from both parties recommended. "That is not his intention at this particular time," John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence, said at a briefing.

The CIA has had several military officers as its director, but none in the past 25 years, and Hayden's nomination comes at a time when Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has moved aggressively to expand the Pentagon's intelligence operations. Hayden's nomination has also reignited debate over the legality of the NSA's secret eavesdropping without court approval on telephone calls and e-mail between the United States and overseas in cases when one participant is suspected of terrorist ties.

Despite the concerns expressed by some lawmakers over the weekend, Hayden received a warm reception yesterday in the place it matters most -- the Senate intelligence committee, which will handle his confirmation hearings. Committee Republicans either fully embraced him or, at worst, reserved judgment, and a key Democrat said she expects to support Hayden and assumes he will be confirmed.
"He's going to surround himself with professional people," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told reporters. "The Gosslings are going," she added, referring to Goss's close coterie of aides installed at Langley. "Rumsfeld wanted to control the NSA, and to his credit Hayden stood up."

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in an interview that Hayden "is just about as capable as anyone I've ever seen." He said Hayden's military position is an asset, not a drawback. Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) also praised Hayden in an interview, calling him well qualified for the post. Having a civilian in the deputy slot is good, he added, because "you want someone in there who balances you out and complements you."

Even if Hayden is confirmed, several senators, including Republicans, made it clear they intend to use the process to examine issues such as the NSA surveillance, the civilian-military balance and other matters.
"While I am not opposed to his nomination, senators, including myself, will have important questions which they will want addressed prior to any confirmation vote," Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement.
Several liberal Democrats signaled that they may fight, judging by the critical remarks of senators such as Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.), John F. Kerry (Mass.), Frank R. Lautenberg (N.J.) and Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.). "The last thing America needs is a 'yes man' at the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency," Kennedy said.
"The appointment of General Hayden is the latest example of President Bush giving promotions to those who have led the greatest attacks on our Constitution and fundamental freedoms," Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

But the apparent decision to name Kappes as Hayden's deputy resonated powerfully within the CIA and may ease resistance by the agency. A low-key former Marine and 23-year CIA veteran who served in the Near East, South Asia and Europe, Kappes had risen to chief of the agency's clandestine service and was seen as a future director. He traveled secretly to Libya in 2004 to persuade its leader, Moammar Gaddafi, to renounce weapons of mass destruction.

But Kappes clashed immediately with Patrick Murray, the former Capitol Hill aide whom Goss installed as his chief of staff at the CIA. After one month on the job, Murray demanded that Kappes fire his deputy, Michael Sulick, for challenging Murray's authority. Kappes refused and he and Sulick resigned, triggering an unprecedented flood of resignations that the president's advisory board on intelligence this year blamed on Goss.

Kappes's appointment was seen among former and current CIA officers as a sign that Hayden will embrace professionals once again and understands the central role of experienced spies in developing a new National Clandestine Service, the name for those tasked with espionage and penetrating terrorist networks. Several said Kappes would immediately give Hayden a smooth landing at the agency, which one former official described as suffering from "battered-child syndrome" under Goss.

"This will send a wonderful signal to the agency that Hayden understands them, trusts them and honors the work they have done," said former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.

"It's a phenomenal choice," said A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, a former executive director of the CIA. "It's an admission that it was a big mistake for Goss to bring in the people he did and let them loose with no adult supervision."