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Monday, May 08, 2006

Harriet Miers II?

The phone call listener. A million recipies
for shwarma and likes none of them

Republicans Fault a Top Pick to Lead the C.I.A.

Published: May 8, 2006

WASHINGTON, May 7 — Senior Republican lawmakers on Sunday criticized the probable choice of Gen. Michael V. Hayden to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, voicing concerns about his ties to a controversial eavesdropping program and about the wisdom of installing a military officer at the civilian spy agency.

In a possible preview of the difficulties that would await General Hayden on Capitol Hill, several Republicans, including some with close ties to the White House, said President Bush should find someone else to run the embattled agency.

"I do believe he is the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time," Representative Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time," Mr. Hoekstra said.

Several military officers have led the C.I.A., but Mr. Hoekstra said it would be wrong to install one when the agency was fending off efforts by the Pentagon to expand its own spying operations.

Mr. Hoekstra would not directly participate in a debate over General Hayden, because the Senate, not the House, is responsible for confirming the president's nominee.

None of the Republican or Democratic lawmakers who appeared on television on Sunday or who were interviewed separately said directly that they would vote against General Hayden's nomination. He would replace Porter J. Goss, who was forced to resign Friday after repeatedly clashing with John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, over the C.I.A.'s loss of status as the nation's premier spy agency.

But Mr. Hoekstra's remarks, coupled with similar sentiments expressed by leading Senate Republicans, including Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, suggest that the general might not have an easy ride toward confirmation.

Members of that committee, which will conduct the confirmation hearings, are likely to ask sharp questions, particularly about Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's drive to expand intelligence operations at the Pentagon. By doing that, they could express the concerns of intelligence officials who are constrained by their jobs from speaking out.

The nomination of General Hayden, which is expected to be formally announced by President Bush on Monday, will also almost certainly revive the controversy surrounding the domestic eavesdropping program at the National Security Agency, which he once oversaw.

Critics of the program, including Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, may try to use the nomination to force the White House to provide more information about it.

Bush may not get his way here. He keeps trying to shortcut this job and he's failed badly once.

Behind the Goss toss, W's 'alarmed' panel sealed top spy's fate


WASHINGTON - A little-known White House advisory board convinced a reluctant President Bush to launch yet another high-profile shakeup of the nation's intelligence community and can CIA Director Porter Goss, sources said yesterday.

Bush had already gotten an earful from Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte on the shortcomings of Goss, but the final push came from the "very alarmed" President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, intelligence and Congressional sources said.

Alarms were set off at the advisory board by a widening FBI sex and cronyism investigation that's targeted Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, the No.3 official at the CIA, and also touched on Goss himself.

The 16-member bipartisan board, now headed by former Goldman Sachs executive Stephen Friedman, has the mandate to conduct periodic assessments on "the quality, quantity and adequacy of intelligence collection."

The board, which includes longtime Bush confidant and former Commerce Secretary Don Evans, joined in the growing chorus inside and outside the CIA calling for Goss' ouster, persuading Bush to act, sources said.

The result was the awkward Oval Office announcement Friday at which neither Goss nor Bush gave a specific reason for Goss' return to Florida. Goss told CNN yesterday his resignation was "just one of those mysteries.

posted by Steve @ 12:25:00 AM

12:25:00 AM

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