The nomination of Negroponte’s right hand man to head the CIA signifies a further crackdown on civil liberties and the forging ahead of the semi-secret Total Information Awareness Program.
General Michael V. Hayden is favourite to step up to take the head position at the CIA after the resignation of Porter J Goss who stepped down in advance of the revelations that he and a top aide may have attended Watergate poker parties where bribes and hookers were provided to corrupt congressmen.
Hayden is National Intelligence Director John Negroponte’s senior deputy.
“Such a move would bring further power to Mr Negroponte, a rising star of the administration.” reports the London Independent.
Negropontes job is to coordinate the work of 16 different intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the giant National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on international communications, as well as the Energy Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The role was created immediately after 9/11 and ties in with the Defense Department’s Total Information Awareness Program, which seeks to gather a “lifetime paper trail” of all citizens and centralize the information on a giant database.
The co-ordination of all intelligence gathering services by Negroponte is the first step of this nightmarish Orwellian program. The excuse for all this is of course the war on terror.
It has been claimed that Porter Goss was out of his depth as CIA head and was merely a puppet who failed to tow the line. According to some intelligence officials, he had been standing up for the CIA as an autonomous agency, and was holding firm against “micromanagement”. Tensions came to a boil when John Negroponte decided that many analysts from the CIA should be centralized and moved to the new National Counterterrorism Center.
Negroponte is a NeoCon Stalwart who has been lurking in the shadows as long as Cheney and Rumsfeld. He was a key figure behind the invasion of Iraq, having served as ambassador there.
He was also intimately involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, defying the House and personally urging the CIA and the president’s national security adviser to continue secretly arming contra rebels and death squads from bases in Honduras to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.
The initial director of Total Information Awareness (TIA), John Poindexter, has also been intimately involved with covert ops for decades.
He too was exposed as a criminal traitor in the Iran Contra scandal, lost his job as National Security Adviser under Ronald Reagan, and was convicted of conspiracy, lying to Congress, defrauding the government, and destroying evidence in the Iran Contra scandal.
These criminals are now being employed to run the country’s intelligence gathering network, spy on citizens and co-ordinate all the information into huge databases.
General Hayden’s appointment out of Negroponte’s office is yet another move towards the TIA agenda. If he gets the job, a military officer would be in charge of every major US spy agency.
Hayden, as head of the NSA, oversaw the recently exposed secret warrantless surveillance program against US citizens, dubbed the “terrorist surveillance program”, on behalf of President Bush, and has been the most forceful defender of the eavesdropping program since its disclosure in December.
In January of this year, Hayden, in an appearance today before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., appeared to be unfamiliar with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when pressed by a reporter with Knight Ridder’s Washington office — despite his claims that he was actually something of an expert on it.
Its concerning to witness a military general, in charge of intelligence gathering in the US, who is so completely wrong on the constitutional laws of the nation and yet displays all the righteousness of a televangelist.
According to Hayden’s logic, you can go out and rob a bank and then plead innocence on the basis that theft isn’t illegal and that theft in fact doesn’t mean theft.
These long time criminals feel they can break the law because they do not recognize it in the first place. They have placed themselves above the law and are hell bent on destroying our freedoms and civil liberties.
Gen. Hayden: “4th Amendment and wrong”
originally posted on 1/26/06 with updates
Keith Olbermann posted this video clip of Gen. Hayden botching the fourth amendment.
Knight-Ridder’s Jonathan Landay questioned Gen. Michael Hayden at the National Press Club in January:
Landay: “…the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to violate an American’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures…”
Gen. Hayden: “No, actually – the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure.”
Landay: “But the –”
Gen. Hayden: “That’s what it says.”
Landay: “The legal measure is probable cause, it says.”
Gen. Hayden: “The Amendment says: unreasonable search and seizure.”
Landay: “But does it not say ‘probable cause’?”
Gen. Hayden [exasperated, scowling]: “No! The Amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.”
Landay: “The legal standard is probable cause, General — “
Gen. Hayden [indignant]: “Just to be very clear … mmkay… and believe me, if there’s any Amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it’s the Fourth. Alright? And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. The constitutional standard is ‘reasonable’” ( h/t Dale)
which Keith says:
OLBERMANN: To quote the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in its entirety, the one the general and the NSA folks are so familiar with and know is about reasonableness and not about probable cause, quote, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Well, maybe they have a different Constitution over there at the NSA.
This also helped to open the door for Glenn Greenwald to expose them on FISA. “In other words, DeWine’s bill, had it become law, would have eliminated the “probable cause” barrier (at least for non-U.S. persons) which the Administration is now pointing to as the reason why it had to circumvent FISA…read on“
Updates from today:
Glenn: Having said that, it is highly illustrative of this administration’s mindset that they believe that the best candidate to direct the CIA is the individual who oversaw and vigorously defended the administration’s illegal eavesdropping on American citizens. Isn’t he the last person who ought to be put in that position?
Digby remembers a few things about General Hayden.
“We’re full steam ahead on his nomination.” -White House spokeswoman Dana Perino
“We have to confront the chilling prospect that the incoming head of the CIA believes it’s permissible to conduct warrantless surveillance on the American public,” Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the New York Times.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Brighton, deputy whip in the Republican caucus, released a statement Monday in which he said he hoped the appointment was not “a calculated decision to choose the path of least resistance.”
Hoekstra of Holland said Monday that Hayden has “had a very distinguished career,” but that Bush erred in nominating an active-duty military officer to lead the nation’s civilian spy agency.
Hoekstra’s counterpart in the Senate, Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, has raised similar concerns.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich., said he supports Hayden’s nomination.
Bush urged senators to promptly approve the former National Security Agency head, who one year ago was confirmed unanimously to be the nation’s first deputy director of national intelligence.
”Mike Hayden is supremely qualified for this position,” Bush said. ”He knows the intelligence community from the ground up.”
Hayden is credited with designing the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. Disclosure of the program late last year sparked an intense civil-liberties debate.
California Rep. Jane Harman, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, said Hayden had become part of the ”White House spin machine” though intelligence professionals typically eschew partisan politics.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, yesterday stepped up his calls to use Hayden’s nomination to force the White House to be more forthcoming with details of the program, which he said may be illegal. He was one of several legislators from both parties who greeted Hayden’s nomination with caution, questions, and skepticism.
”There’s a lot of concern about the surveillance program, and his nomination will give us an opportunity to go into that,” Specter said on Fox News. ”You have a statute . . . which flatly prohibits electronic surveillance in the United States without a court order.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee has held four hearings to examine whether the president is correct, but Specter and others have expressed frustration about the administration’s unwillingness to fully explain the rationale for that authority.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said she would probably support Hayden. But Feinstein said she intended to use his hearing to ask ”some serious questions” about whether the spying program could be altered to comply with the warrant law.
Senator Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, said it was not the general’s fault that Bush had set limits on what he can say about how the program works.
Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said: ”If Senate Democrats are looking to the Hayden nomination as an opportunity . . . to argue that we’re doing too much to prevent terrorism, that the intelligence agencies are fighting too hard against terrorists around the world, then we look forward to taking that debate to the American people.”
The White House yesterday also pushed back against bipartisan concerns that putting Hayden in charge of the CIA might be seen as a military coup against the civilian spy agency, which has been jostling with the Pentagon for dominance in the nation’s intelligence community.
Hoekstra described Hayden as ”the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time” for the job. Bush seemed to key in on Hoekstra’s comments yesterday; he argued arguing that Hayden’s vast intelligence experience made him ”the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation’s history.”
Raising a related concern, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said yesterday that Hayden’s long career in uniform might have stunted his ability to provide the president with independent advice. ”Good soldiers are trained to follow their orders, and General Hayden is a good soldier,” Durbin said.
But Senator Susan M. Collins, Republican of Maine, said that Hayden has shown he was willing to speak up when he and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfelds views differed.
Still, Collins added her voice to those of senators who have suggested that Hayden should retire from the Air Force ”to send a signal of independence from the Pentagon.”
Negroponte said Hayden had no intention of resigning from the military.
With Haydens installation, active-duty or retired military officers would run all the major spy agencies as well as the intelligence hub, the National Counterterrorism Centre.
Hayden is a Pittsburgh Steelers football fan known for using sports metaphors, and takes pride in his blue-collar roots.
He drove a taxi on the side in college at Duquesne University, where he received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He became a four-star general last year.
In 1999, Hayden was sent to supervise eavesdroppers and codebreakers at the NSA. He stayed to become its longest serving director and worked to keep the agency on pace with technological changes in communications.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) declared his opposition to Hayden’s appointment, siding with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan.
Hastert “believes a military figure should not be the head of a civilian agency,” said Ron Bonjean, Hastert’s spokesman. Bonjean also said that Hastert had been “informed but not consulted” about Hayden’s selection.
“He’s going to have to jump through a lot of hoops, and he may not make it,” said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee who supports Hayden’s nomination.
Under the ongoing program, the NSA has monitored communications of U.S. residents without court warrants, bypassing requirements of a 1978 law designed to protect Americans against such surveillance.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, complained in a recent letter to Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte that he was dismayed that Hayden had become “a key participant in this White House public relations strategy intended to deflect criticism of the NSA program.”
A senior Democratic aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee said the issue raised questions about Hayden’s independence from the White House.
“He became an extension of the White House press office,” said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the press.
Hayden, 61, has spent the bulk of his career in intelligence work. The Pittsburgh native served as an analyst at the Strategic Air Command in the early 1970s and was a defense attache in the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria during the Cold War. He went on to hold a series of high-level positions in the military and in the National Security Council at the White House.
His six years at the helm of the NSA make him the longest-serving director of that agency. But critics point to a series of blunders on Hayden’s watch.
During his tenure, the NSA invested billions of dollars in computer systems that failed to deliver expected results. The agency also intercepted Al Qaeda warnings including a Sept. 10, 2001, boast that “Tomorrow is zero hour” but failed to translate them until it was too late.
But in the sharpest rebuke to Goss, Negroponte also announced plans to nominate Stephen Kappes to serve as deputy CIA director under Hayden.
Kappes, 54, was among the first in a series of high-level agency officers who resigned early in Goss’ tenure over leadership disagreements and complaints of mistreatment of agency veterans by members of Goss’ senior staff.
Kappes, Negroponte said, “was one of their leading case officers and a leading member of their clandestine service.” A Russian and Farsi speaker who had spent more than a decade overseas, Kappes rose through the ranks to become the deputy director of operations before he left.
Former CIA officials said that Kappes would complement Hayden, who has little experience with human spying operations. Bringing Kappes back, they said, probably would improve morale in the clandestine service and send a reassuring signal to agency employees.
“Kappes is not going to sit around and watch the agency be whittled down to nothing,” Drumheller said, adding that hiring Kappes would be seen as a “repudiation of everything Porter [Goss] wanted to do.”
One of Goss’ senior aides, CIA Executive Director Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo, has already agreed to resign, saying in an e-mail to agency employees that he had “decided to step aside,” according to a U.S. intelligence official.
Foggo is under investigation by the CIA inspector general’s office for a contract the agency awarded to a San Diego businessman and lifelong friend of Foggo linked to the bribery scandal involving former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe). The FBI also is examining the contract, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Democrats such as Senators Richard Durbin of Illinois and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts questioned whether Hayden was strong enough to resist telling the president what he wants to hear.
“I am concerned that General Hayden may not be able to provide the president with the independent voice he needs at the CIA,” Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said in a statement.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said he wants to hold hearings this month and expects Hayden to be confirmed. “I don’t oppose him at all,” Roberts, a Kansas Republican, said in an interview. “He’s probably the most qualified person on intelligence in the city.”
Feinstein, who is on the Senate intelligence panel, said Kappes’s return wouldn’t dispel all the controversy. “There will be a lot of hard questions asked and he should answer them,” she said of the nominee.
Nonetheless, Feinstein signaled support, even as she said Hayden, a four-star general, should resign from the military.
“We need a respected, competent intelligence professional who can command respect and manage this growing agency,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Based on what I know so far, General Michael Hayden appears to fit that bill.”
Republican Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Christopher Bond of Missouri — both intelligence panel members — also released statements supportive of the nominee.
Yet Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said the Senate lacks the political will to press Hayden — and by extension the president — on the surveillance program.
“The Senate has taken a position that no more than six or seven of us” should be briefed on the program, said Levin, who’s on the Intelligence Committee, in an interview. “ I don’t know why that would change.”
Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said Bush should welcome questions about the NSA eavesdropping. “The program is a good program,” he said in an interview. “I am perfectly willing to have a debate on that.”