Hayden in line for CIA top post

As was widely rumored over the weekend, President Bush has announced he will nominate Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden to take the helm at the CIA, following Friday's surprise resignation of Porter Goss as director of the spy agency.

Word began to leak over the weekend that Hayden'currently principal deputy director of the new Office of National Intelligence under John Negroponte'would be Bush's choice. A number of political leaders, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have expressed concern whether an active-duty military officer should lead the chief civilian intelligence agency.

'I do believe he's the wrong person, the wrong place at the wrong time,' Hoekstra said on one of the Sunday morning talk shows.

Sen. Susan Collins, chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a member of the Armed Services Committee, suggested that Hayden should resign from the Air Force.

'[T]o send a signal of independence from the Pentagon, General Hayden may want to consider retiring from the Air Force. That would put to rest questions about whether an active duty military officer should lead the CIA at this time,' Collins said in a written statement.

Before his appointment as the No. 2 man at ONI, Hayden was director of the National Security Agency. It was during his tenure that NSA began the 'warrantless wiretapping' of communications between individuals in the United States and suspected terrorists outside the country. This, too, may prove contentious during Senate confirmation hearings, since a number of senators had questioned the legality of the program.


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