May 9, 2006

Mike Hayden to be Director, CIA?

I am not sure why Mike Hayden would want to be the director of the CIA. Since the reorganization of the community (Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004), the CIA is just another of the 15 agencies – as it should be. They also lost the coveted covert action portfolio to the Pentagon.

I think Hayden might have more power as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, in essence the number two intelligence official in the country. See A Director of National Intelligence? and National Intelligence Director - Addendum that I wrote almost two years when the idea of a DNI was making the rounds.

Soon after the reorganization of the community and establishment of the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld appointed an officer to be the liaison officer between the new DNI and all DOD intelligence. Remember that the Department of Defense (DOD) controls about 75 percent of the intelligence community and almost 85 percent of its budget. That move by Runsfeld effectively made the DNI have to go through the Secretary's office to talk to anyone in defense or service intelligence and possibly the National Security Agency (NSA). There did not seem to be an effective challenge by Negroponte. As time went by, DOD expanded their intelligence operations at the expense of CIA domination. Having had to live under the old rules in which CIA ran roughshod over the rest of the intelligence community - often at the expense of effective operations - I think this is great. The CIA has proven itself to be incapable of the changes necessary to operate in the world we live in today. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have emerged the true winners in the quest for control of the intelligence community.

Many have expressed concern over having a military officer in charge of a civilian agency. Perhaps they should read some history - the OSS, a civilian organization, seemed to run pretty well under General Donovan - I believe that is his statue I walked by everyday I worked at Langley. Mike Hayden is just the guy to turn around the culture of arrogance and failure that has permeated the agency for the last 15 years.