Monday, May 08, 2006

What's Wrong with a Military Man as head of the CIA?

Betsy Newmark blogged Both Republicans and Democrats are all upset at the idea of a military man, Michael Hayden, being put in charge of the CIA. I just don't get what the big deal is. When we're at war, is it so bad to have a military man in charge of intelligence gathering at the CIA? What was okay about having him be in charge of the NSA, but now is suddenly a problem at the CIA?

And why was it ok to have him second in command of all of the intelligence agencies, but not in charge of one of them.
Isn't it a good thing to have a man with such extensive experience in charge there?

John Ham of the John Locke Foundation wonders if any of those in Congress or in the media grumbling about Hayden's military background have ever heard of Admiral Stansfield Turner.
The effect of airbrushing Turner out of the story is to give credence to the argument that appointing a man with a military background as CIA director is the first step on the slippery slope to tyranny, that there’s a James Mattoon Scott in the Pentagon just waiting to take over the government.
Really what the senate is ticked about it is that they were working on a bill that would have required civilian leadership of the CIA, and just because they never got around to passing it, they still think it should be considered as if it had passed both houses and been signed by the President. Senators are idiots.
There is one glaring difference between the Turner appointment and the Hayden choice, however. Hayden actually knows something about intelligence.
That is a good reason for the Senate to oppose him.
As Edward Jay Espstein wrote in a commentary in 1985:
Although Turner had had little previous experience in intelligence, he viewed it simply as a problem of assessing data, or, as he described it to his son, nothing more than "bean' counting."
By all accounts, Hayden is an acknowledged expert on intelligence. As the Associated Press wrote on Sunday: “Hayden is widely respected in both parties for his long experience with intelligence, and many lawmakers said he could be a good candidate for some other job.”
The Democrats are licking their chops at the idea of pressing Hayden on the NSA surveillance program. I'm looking forward to hearing, and having the nation hear, Hayden's defense of that program.
I agree. The Democrats are going to make such fools of themselves opposing a Terrorist Surveilance Program that the general public supports, and there is no one better to explain it than Hayden.

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