Hayden at the CIA

Looks like he will get the votes:

WASHINGTON General Michael Hayden has the cautious support of Senator Carl Levin in Hayden’s bid to become the nation’s next C-I-A director.

Levin is a Michigan Democrat is a key member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which plans to vote on Hayden’s nomination tomorrow afternoon.

Levin told Detroit radio station W-J-R on Friday, (–quote–) “As of right now, I plan to vote for him.”

While I miss not spending as much time reading blogs, writing as many posts, and commenting on other blogs, stepping back from it all has allowed for some clarity regarding the current political system. When I was immersed in blogs, I felt that the Democrats were having some success blocking the current administration, but when I look back, I was just fooled by the current game. The Hayden nomination is a perfect example.

When he was nominated, a few people had fits, a chorus of echoes emerged, and then there appeared to be a popular effort to block his nomination. And then time went by, and now it looks increasingly like he will be confirmed, as everyone has moved on to something else- “Look- a Rabbit!”- as everyone gets all worked up about the FBI raiding Rep. Jefferson’s office or whatever the issue du jour might be.

And if you look back on things, that is how it has been since the beginning of this administration- they do what they want, Democrats throw up an opposition that is of varying degrees of tepidness (did I just make that word up?), a few ‘maverick’ Republicans cross lines (briefly), and then the administration gets what they want.

Rinse and Repeat. Even the editors of the NY Times seem in on the game- there is another corporate scandal (YAWN), the Democrats are just as crooked as the GOP in case you don’t know, and, for good measure an old fan favorite from the 90’s, the Clinton’s marriage is a fraud and they don’t really love each other.

In short, while immersed in the blogosphere, you get the feeling that the political climate is changing, but if you step back and look at the big picture, it looks much more like the SSDD.






36 replies
  1. 1
    Mr Furious says:

    I live in Michigan, and I wrote to Sen. Levin about this. He responded and I guess Levin had me going with this letter…

    Dear Mr. [Furious]:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the nomination of General Michael Hayden to be the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.

    The United States Constitution gives the President the authority to appoint individuals to run the various executive agencies. It also imposes the duty on the United States Senate to give its advice and consent to these nominations. The Senate Intelligence Committee, of which I am a member, is currently considering General Hayden’s nomination.

    As you may know, General Hayden currently serves as the Deputy Director of National Intelligence. Prior to assuming that position in May 2005, General Hayden served as the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and in various intelligence positions within the Department of Defense.

    General Hayden has the background and credentials for the position of CIA Director, but this job requires more than an impressive resume. This nomination comes at a time when the CIA is in disarray. Its current Director, Porter Goss, has apparently been forced out, and the previous Director, George Tenet, left under a cloud after having compromised his own objectivity and independence, and that of the CIA, by misusing Iraq intelligence to support the Administration’s policy agenda. One major question I will seek to answer as I consider General Hayden’s nomination is whether he will restore analytical independence and objectivity at the CIA and speak truth to power, or whether he will shape intelligence to support Administration policy and mislead Congress and the American people, as former Director of Central Intelligence Tenet did. Another major question is General Hayden’s view on the electronic surveillance of American citizens.

    The war on terrorism not only requires objective, independent intelligence analysis, it also requires us to strike a careful balance between our liberty and our security. Over the past six months, we have been engaged in a national debate about the NSA’s electronic surveillance program and the telephone records of American citizens. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have been investigating the NSA programs and will vigorously question General Hayden about these programs during his nomination hearing.

    On May 18, 2006, the Senate Intelligence Committee began its consideration of General Hayden’s nomination. My opening statement from that hearing can be found on my website [link].

    Thank you again for contacting me.

    Sincerely,
    Carl Levin

    Sounded like he was going to oppose. And I read in several places that as Levin went, so went the Dem support.

    I’m not comfortable with Hayden. And after this, i’m not sure if this makes me more comfortable with Hayden or less comfortable with Levin.

  2. 2
    Mr Furious says:

    Oh, and that NYT Clinton story is outrageous…What the hell is the matter with Hillary? Why can’t she have dinner on the table for Bill when he gets home? It’s not like she has something better to do…

  3. 3
    Mr Furious says:

    I should also note, that after reading the post, especially the last two ‘graphs, I had to do a double-take that Tim F didn’t write this one.

    “My name is John. And I’m a Republican…”

    “Welcome, John!”

    You’re on your way to recovery.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    It’s the Harriet Meiers (sp?) Game: do the Dems approve of Hayden in fear of what monster Bush would nominate in place of him? Dems dogged Meiers, got stuck with Alito. There’s probably well-justified fear that Hayden is at best OK, whereas many other candidates might be horribly partisan.

    Can ANYONE answer this lingering question: If Hayden stays in the military, is his boss Negroponte, or Rumsfeld? It cannot be “both”; that makes no sense, chain-of-command-wise. Which one trumps the other?

  5. 5
    Ancient Purple says:

    The “current administration successes” may be all well and good for the current administration.

    The public, however, disagrees that it is good for the public.

    Unless someone is going to suggest that the polling agencies are just fronts for Dem bloggers.

  6. 6
    DougJ says:

    Personally, I think it is quite reasonable that the DOJ would raid Jefferson’s office, but not the offices of DeLay, Ney, Doolittle, Pomobo, Harris, Lewis, or any of the other Republicans under investigation.

  7. 7
    gamer girl says:

    It does seem like this is the pattern doesn’t it? Find something to be outraged about…tear it apart, destroy anyone’s character involved…threaten to take drastic measures…do nothing, and then move on to the next scandal.

  8. 8
    Steve says:

    Carl Levin is one of the best Senators there is. I have a lot of respect for his views, because I know he takes his job seriously. If Hayden is OK with him, then he’s presumptively OK with me.

    And yes, John, when you have a one-party government, that party is going to tend to get what it wants. The shocking thing is that they haven’t gotten more.

  9. 9
    Vladi G says:

    and then there appeared a popular effort to block his nomination.

    You’re high if you think there was ever anything close to a popular effort to block him, or you’re just making that up.

  10. 10
    Sazei says:

    The DIA/NSA was planning on integrating the CIA analysts before Hayden was chosen. Maybe this is a little funny?

    Plame and others outside of DIA NSA accessed your personal imformation; phones, internet, etc. and, now, are being transfered to where they got the information. No one is concerned about access to the DIA/NSA by those outside those areas. Hyaden and IDA/NSA are’nt either and never were.

  11. 11
    srv says:

    And yes, John, when you have a one-party government, that party is going to tend to get what it wants. The shocking thing is that they haven’t gotten more.

    Yeah John, love it or leave it. America, where sometimes we have twice as many choices as the Cubans do.

  12. 12
    John Cole says:

    What part of the word ‘appeared’ is kicking your ass, Vladi? Pretty clearly that was my perception, and not a statement of fact.

  13. 13

    […] Third, I am afraid to search the blogosphere, because I know I will find idiotic statements like this offering from our own resident rabble-rouser: […]

  14. 14
    Punchy says:

    Answer my question, dammit!! Who’s his boss if he remains active duty?? The military is controlled by the DoD, which is Rumsfeld. The CIA is run by the DoI and Negroponte. How can one man with such an important job have two bosses? Or does he? There’s GOT to be a political science major amongst us, right?

  15. 15
    Pb says:

    To be fair, your use of ‘appeared’ is ambiguous at best. Perhaps you meant to say ‘appeared to be’, and he thought you meant ‘materialized’. Both are reasonable interpretations, IMO.

  16. 16
    Pb says:

    Punchy,

    Hayden addressed this at one point, saying that if he thought there was a conflict from the military side of things that interfered with his duties as CIA director, then he’d resign from the military, or something like that.

  17. 17
    Punchy says:

    if he thought there was a conflict from the military side of things

    Thanks. Damn, he’s going to wait until there’s a “conflict” before resigning? I already see the conflict ahead: CIA…intelligence….Iran….military strikes…”WMD”…Lemmie guess–the CIA will not be supplying any intelligence that Rumsfeld doesn’t want to see.

    That seals it…War With The Brown Guys, Part Deux: The Iran Chapter.

  18. 18
    Vladi G says:

    What part of the word ‘appeared’ is kicking your ass, Vladi? Pretty clearly that was my perception, and not a statement of fact.

    John, my point is that I don’t know how any rational human being could have even perceived that there was any sort of popular support to block him. It was never even close. There were the same Republicans that hedge on EVERY nomination hedging again. There were some irrelevant grumblings from Republicans in the House. But there was never anything remotely close to what had gone on with John Bolton, for example. My point is that if you ever thought for a minute that his nomination was in danger, you were really out of touch with reality.

  19. 19
    Mr Furious says:

    Hayden addressed this at one point, saying that if he thought there was a conflict from the military side of things that interfered with his duties as CIA director, then he’d resign from the military, or something like that.

    That’s crap. I’m supposed to believe that shit? And HE will make that determination all by himself? Total fucking crap. He should have to resign his commission before taking the post. Judges with lifetime spots on the bench resign them to take appointments…

  20. 20
    Brian says:

    And if you look back on things, that is how it has been since the beginning of this administration- they do what they want

    Can you clarify this for me? Wasn’t Bush elected to do certain things, like nominate SCOTUS judges and CIA directors? If he got what he wanted all the time, Harriet Miers would be sitting on the Court. But, generally speaking, when a president is elected to that office, he’s been elected to get things done, and it’s a given (at least to me) that when he nominates someone for an office, that person should be confirmed, unless the grilling process reveals something noteworthy that would undermine the nomination.

  21. 21
    Pb says:

    Punchy, Mr Furious,

    I could be wrong, of course–that is my recollection, but I can’t seem to find a quote. I did hear words to that effect somewhere, but it might not have been directly from Hayden.

  22. 22
    Vladi G says:

    But, generally speaking, when a president is elected to that office, he’s been elected to get things done, and it’s a given (at least to me) that when he nominates someone for an office, that person should be confirmed, unless the grilling process reveals something noteworthy that would undermine the nomination.

    Brian, you forgot the end of that. Here, let me add it for you:

    Unlesss the President is a Democrat, in which case the Senate should be able to do things like “blue slip” his nominees so that they never even have to come up for discussion, which will allow the Republicans in the Senate to lie about how they NEVER blocked any of that President’s nominees.

  23. 23
    Darrell says:

    but when I look back, I was just fooled by the current game. The Hayden nomination is a perfect example.

    John, why is the Hayden nomination such a perfect example? He appears competent and did well at the hearings from what I saw… And as Steve pointed out, if a Dem partisan like Carl Levin votes for him, it probably means he’s ok. Are you suggesting the Dems should have blocked Hayden’s nomination for some reason?

  24. 24
    Steve says:

    There were the same Republicans that hedge on EVERY nomination hedging again. There were some irrelevant grumblings from Republicans in the House. But there was never anything remotely close to what had gone on with John Bolton, for example.

    Bolton would have been another big nothing if Voinovich hadn’t gone off the reservation. Left to their own devices, the Democrats seem to have real problems articulating WHY they oppose a given nominee.

  25. 25
    Punchy says:

    the Democrats seem to have real problems articulating WHY they oppose a given nominee

    That’s a tough statement. The Dems can always explain their problems with a nominee; they can never PROVE their fears to the public b/c everything is “classified”
    1) John Roberts–a bunch of files “missing” from the Archives immediately after WH lawyers show up.
    2) Bolton–WH refuses to release material related to his NSA wiretaps
    3) Hayden–WH refuses to release material related to NSA, Hayden refuses to answer questions, phone companies given Pres. Order to obfuscate and lie about involvement
    On and on it goes…

    This is a very disturbing article that just proves that this WH will eventually be able to hide everything and anything, eliminating all investigations.

  26. 26
    Steve says:

    And as Steve pointed out, if a Dem partisan like Carl Levin votes for him, it probably means he’s ok.

    Uh, maybe you could show me the part where I said Carl Levin was a partisan, because I don’t remember “pointing it out.” I hardly think I’d go on about my respect for him if he were just another partisan.

    When a partisan takes a pass on one of the opposing party’s nominees, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than “I perceive no political advantage from opposing this nominee.” I don’t believe Levin works like that which is why I assume there are substantive issues underlying his decision, even if I don’t know what they are.

  27. 27
    Darrell says:

    Uh, maybe you could show me the part where I said Carl Levin was a partisan, because I don’t remember “pointing it out.” I hardly think I’d go on about my respect for him if he were just another partisan.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding Steve. You most definitely didn’t call him a partisan.. that’s my characterization, and it’s a correct one. You said that if Levin votes for him, he’s probably ok.

    The larger point is that Hayden seems to be qualified and competent.. so why is the Hayden nomination such a “perfect example” of some problem in Washington?

  28. 28
    John Cole says:

    To be fair, your use of ‘appeared’ is ambiguous at best. Perhaps you meant to say ‘appeared to be’, and he thought you meant ‘materialized’. Both are reasonable interpretations, IMO.

    Edited.

  29. 29

    In short, while immersed in the blogosphere, you get the feeling that the political climate is changing, but if you step back and look at the big picture, it looks much more like the SSDD.

    I think you’re confused. If you step back you see things are changing. When emersed it looks like SSDD.

    The Hayden thing is a prime example. Say what you will, but the guy’s actually qualified for the post… unlike the majority of Bush nominees.

  30. 30
    JoeTx says:

    Biggest doubt I have about him is that he was nominated by Bush. Considering other Bush nominations like Miers and Goss, among the cast of 100’s of other failures he’s appointed, I’m skeptical. BUT he does have the qualifications and would no doubt be a plus for the CIA.

    I heard on Al Frankin the other day somebody talking about the hearings being fixed. Bush agreed to brief the full Intelligence Committee in exchange for a kabookie theator hearing…

  31. 31
    Pb says:

    Woo. Glenn Greenwald’s latest post is all about how right John Cole is here. Incredible, I know, but I think I like it.

  32. 32
    Crust says:

    Here’s the link to Greenwald’s post that quotes at length (and agrees) with John:

    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.....html#links

    Money quote:

    Gen. Hayden ought to have been seen as the most defiant and inflammatory nominee possible for the President to have made. He was, after all, the Director of the NSA at the time it implemented its illegal warrantless eavesdropping program as well as its massive data-collection schemes, and he is a True Believer in the theories of presidential power which hold that the President has the right to violate the law. And he wasn’t nominated to be the Agriculture Secretary, but the Director of the CIA — probably the very worst position you would want someone to occupy with that history of surveillance lawbreaking and that system of beliefs regarding the rule of law.

  33. 33
    mds says:

    Say what you will, but the guy’s actually qualified for the post… unlike the majority of Bush nominees.

    Yes, at least he was competent when he ran a wiretapping program that flouted federal law. Why get our undies in a bundle over that? Perish the thought that anyone should base opposition to a nominee on Constitutional separation of powers, or on admitted violations of FISA, or on a refusal to answer in open session whether he would comply with anti-torture laws. He’s competent, and perfectly willing to lie and violate the law at the behest of the President. What more could anyone possibly ask from a DCI? Now, a principled opposition party could use this nomination, even if they couldn’t block it, as a chance to further visit executive overreach and possibly exercise oversight. If only there were a principled opposition party in Congress…

  34. 34
    RSA says:

    Left to their own devices, the Democrats seem to have real problems articulating WHY they oppose a given nominee.

    I don’t understand this at all. The Washington Post gave a very good example on Saturday of a reason to oppose:

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked the nominee a simple question: Is “waterboarding” an acceptable interrogation technique? Gen. Hayden responded: “Let me defer that to closed session, and I would be happy to discuss it in some detail.”

    What the hell? Why wasn’t the response, “I don’t want a discussion ‘in some detail’, I want a yes or no”?

  35. 35
    Steve says:

    I don’t understand this at all. The Washington Post gave a very good example on Saturday of a reason to oppose:

    I don’t know if you mean that you don’t understand why I made that claim, or that you don’t understand why the Democrats act the way they do. If the latter, well, me too. Here is something I wrote once that deals with the importance of articulating clear reasons for opposition.

  36. 36
    RSA says:

    The latter. I understand your claim pretty well, I think, and I agree.

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