House Speaker Dennis Hastert is seriously confused about who scores gains and who loses if Michael Hayden is confirmed as successor to Porter Goss as Director of Central Intelligence.
In a short article that just appeared on Roll Call‘s website, Hastert lashes out as Negroponte for Goss’s firing, calling it a “power grab” by John Negroponte.
Oddly, Hastert also thinks that elevating Hayden will give too much influence over intelligence to the Pentagon. Hellooo?
John Bresnahan writes:
Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has come out against the nomination of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA, calling the ousting of former Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) from the agency’s top post “a power grab” by John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence.
Hastert’s opposition to Hayden is not based on any personal reservations about the nominee. Rather, Hastert is concerned that installing a top-ranking military official at the “CIA would give too much influence over the U.S. intelligence community to the Pentagon.”
“I don’t know anything about him. He has never darkened my doorstep,” Hastert told reporters on Monday in Aurora, Ill., when asked about Hayden. “I don’t think a military guy should be head of CIA, frankly.”
Hastert added: “I don’t oppose him, I don’t know anything about him.” Hayden has been serving as Negroponte’s deputy following a six-year stint as head of the National Security Agency.
Hastert’s aides later expanded on his comments. “The Speaker does not believe that a military person should be leading the CIA, a civilian agency,” said Ron Bonjean, Hastert’s spokesman.
Hastert also said Negroponte stopped by his office Wednesday and made no mention of the fact that Goss, who served in the House with Hastert for 16 years, would be stepping down as CIA director two days later.
“It looks like a power grab by Mr. Negroponte,” said Hastert.
The reason Negroponte wants Michael Hayden is to check the Pentagon’s colonization of the national intelligence bureaucracy. To do that, Negroponte wants a loyal player who knows how the military dimensions of the national intelligence establishment is structured and what Rumsfeld’s imperious intentions are.
I’m not an apologist for Michael Hayden, whom I think played ‘loyal soldier’ a bit too much on the warrantless wiretap front — but the opposition to him regarding his military credentials is silly.
The balls to keep the eye on are DONALD RUMSFELD and the religious crusading defense spy chief, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Lt. General WILLIAM BOYKIN.
Hastert and his colleagues need to wake up, study the gaming going on, and understand that while they may not like Hayden — something needs to be done to balance the deck between Negroponte and Rumsfeld.
I think it’s smart to have General Hayden in place to shut down General Boykin and his team.
— Steve Clemons