Hayden Hearings Begin Today for DCI Post
Gen. Hayden’s hearings for the Director of Central Intelligence begin today in the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Young Turks will begin coverage of the hearings live at 9:30 am ET. (They are getting up at 5:00 am to be able to do this, so send them some click thru traffic love — especially considering I haven’t been able to find coverage anywhere else that I can watch here in the hinterlands.)
In reading through the coverage of the Hayden hearings today, a few things jumped out as intriguing or amusing, and I wanted to point them out for discussion here:
— The WaPo has an editorial from former DCI Robert Gates urging confirmation of Hayden as the new DCI. A little background: I met Gates when I was in college at a conference in Georgetown, and royally pissed him off by asking why there had been so many personnel issues with women being passed over for promotion in the CIA under his watch. (Yep, I was a pain in the butt, even in college.) And I swear, they opened a file on me somewhere that day, because he looked like he wanted to hit me and refused to shake my hand or even speak with me at the cocktail party afterward. Seeing how I was a lowly college kid, it was pretty damned amusing.
Anyway, enough of the trip down memory lane, in the editorial, Gates sings Hayden’s praises for the first two thirds and then drops this little poke at Negroponte which I thought was rather amusing: it seems that Gates was the President’s first choice, but when he turned down the Director of National Intelligence gig to stay at Texas A&M, then Negroponte got the call.
The folks in the Administration have probably known this — but now all of Washington does. Hello gossip central in the beltway today. (And why bring it up now? To bring Negroponte down a peg so that Hayden could start on a slightly firmer footing — better for the CIA? Personal payback — I’d believe it after the display of temper I saw just because I had the temerity to ask the man a question? Man, I’d love to know the motivation on this one. Did I tell you it was amusing?)
— USAToday says that Hayden is nobody’s lackey. Well, that’s swell, isn’t it? Guess we can just all go home now.
— In the Chicago Tribune, of all places, Tim Roemer has some thoughts on what questions and debate needs to occur on intelligence in the context of the Hayden hearings.
— According to the NYTimes, Hayden has an impressive — if not red flag raising on occasion — resume.
— The good news is that intel committee members were more widely briefed (in theory) about the NSA programs and other questionable Bush Administration intelligence maneuvers and illegalities. The bad news is that, now that they are more informed, it could limit their ability to ask pointed questions because they cannot then reveal what they know to be classified information. It’s a Catch-22. But the latest reporting on the NSA spying is that it focused on long-distance calls — which means all those denials from phone companies about phone records yesterday are so much crap, since the long-distance divisions are separate from the sections of the company that were initially asked the questions. Tricky, eh?
Should be an interesting day of hearings — well, as far as they get without having to go into closed, classified session anyway. Here’s hoping that Sens. Feingold and Levin are on their game today.
UPDATE: CNN is doing coverage this morning as well. I don’t know for how long, or how much of the hearings, but they are doing some pretty thorough stuff at the moment. Just FYI. C-Span1 is doing coverage as well this morning.