Monday, May 08, 2006



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday nominated Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA chief, setting up a battle with some members of the U.S. Congress over having a military man head the civilian spy agency.


Some Congress members have said a general heading the CIA could give the Pentagon too much sway over U.S. intelligence gathering. Others have said he is too close to the White House and lacks experience building a clandestine service.

The CIA is in charge of gathering human intelligence and Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency, has most of his background in technological intelligence gathering.

As head of the NSA, he was in charge of eavesdropping operations. Bush has said Hayden was the one who proposed the domestic eavesdropping program after the September 11 attacks.

As a matter of politics, this may be Bush's way of engineering a showdown over warrantless wiretapping. As a matter of practical, responsible governance, this is such a dumb idea that I strongly suspect it originated with Doug Feith.

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