Lawmakers: CIA needs civilian leadership
Gen. Michael Hayden, right, is a deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, left.
GEN. MICHAEL V. HAYDEN
Top intelligence assignments
Source: U.S. Air Force
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Lawmakers from both parties expressed concern Sunday that President Bush reportedly will nominate a longtime military officer to head the CIA.
According to senior administration officials, Bush will announce Monday that he has chosen Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden as the next director of the civilian spy agency.
If confirmed, he would replace Porter Goss, who abruptly resigned the CIA post Friday after losing what intelligence sources described as a power struggle with National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. (Watch as Hayden, not yet nominated, causes a stir -- 2:08)
"Bottom line: I do believe he's the wrong person, the wrong place at the wrong time," Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told "Fox News Sunday."
Hoekstra said he was asked by the White House for his input on suggested replacements for Goss and offered his opinion on Hayden.
"I don't think anything I've said is new to the White House," the Michigan Republican said.
Knowledgeable U.S. officials say Goss' resignation is expected to be followed in coming days by the departure of all or most of the aides he brought with him to the agency -- including the No. 3 official he appointed, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo.
Foggo, who oversees day-to-day CIA operations, is under investigation by the FBI and the CIA's inspector general over his ties to a defense contractor linked to the bribery case against former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who pleaded guilty in November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes.
There was no indication that the investigations played a role in Goss' decision to step down.
If Hayden took the helm at the CIA, Hoekstra said he believes the perception would be that Hayden was under the sway of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, a member of the Intelligence Committee, told ABC's "This Week" that while Hayden was well-respected, the CIA "is a civilian agency; it operates differently."
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told "CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that Hayden could head off the issue by resigning from active military duty.
"That'd be his call," said Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican. "But if somebody is concerned about that, he could certainly do it. He's had diplomatic experience. He's had civilian experience in the past."
But Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, downplayed Hayden's military background and also pointed out that some CIA directors have been former military.
"Gen. Hayden is really more of an intelligence person than he is an Air Force officer," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "As you know, his career has been spent in that area, and his background -- of course, he comes from the [National Security Agency]."
Former CIA director John McLaughlin, a CNN analyst, said it would be important for Hayden to have a civilian deputy "who is steeped in the culture of the business, and very familiar with what CIA does day-to-day."
Hayden, 61, is the principal deputy to Negroponte. If Hayden is nominated, he would have to gain approval of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and then the full Senate.
Hayden's tenure as NSA director potentially could lead to a contentious Senate hearing.
He led the NSA when Bush authorized a controversial anti-terrorism spy program shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Without court warrants, the NSA monitored the communications of people inside the United States who were in contact with suspected terrorists outside the country.
Critics -- many of whom are members of the Senate -- charge the surveillance program is a violation of law and an assault on civil liberties.
Hayden has defended the program, insisting that it is a necessary tool to thwart terrorists and that the process of obtaining warrants is too slow and cumbersome to deal with "a lethal enemy."
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California said the questions surrounding the wiretapping program will "make it difficult for him to be the head of the CIA."
Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, warned against making the wiretapping the focus of hearings.
"His confirmation should not be about whether you're for or against the NSA program," the California Democrat said. "It should be about whether he's the best man to transform the CIA into the premier clandestine service for the 21st century.
"Porter Goss was the wrong guy and had a politically inexperienced staff with him. Mike Hayden is capable, but it's up to the Senate to ask him tough questions."
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