Monday, May 08, 2006

Part-Time Pundit on "Toward a More Perfect CIA"

Get it here!

Here's the Pundit's bottom line:
By appointing Hayden to the CIA, it appears that the intent is to shift the viewpoint of the CIA to be more action-oriented. Hayden is in intelligence, so he obviously knows the value of information, however, as a soldier he also surely knows the value of action and that there comes a point to act on intelligence even if there is more information that could be gathered.

This change is a good thing, as it will help both Defense and State to moderate the poles that have been generated from the rivalry. This appointment is a good thing at a great time that will help both agencies to understand the values each provide and help them learn to work together in the future. The military will learn the value of diplomacy and information and the CIA will learn the value of action. Our national defense will be the clear winner.
Captain Ed weighed in yesterday over General Hayden's nomination. While he lauds General Hayden's clear expertese, he's disconcerted by the White House's seeming misstep over the nomination.

Hoekstra was not the only Republican to publicly question Hayden's selection as Goss' replacement. Saxby Chambliss, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also worries that placing the civilian intelligence agency under the control of a military commander may send a disconcerting message to the organization. They were joined by Dianne Feinstein, who also underscored the intent of having the intelligence agency outside of the control of the military. Joe Biden, who does not have a seat on the SSCI but does join Arlen Specter on Judiciary, also expressed concern that the Pentagon would "gobble up" CIA with Hayden in charge.

One has to wonder why the administration did not consult with Hoekstra and Chambliss before sending out their test balloons on Hayden. The White House knew his confirmation would present difficulties even without having key Republicans in opposition to his appointment. With legislators like Hoekstra and Chambliss publicly objecting to Hayden's nomination, the White House faces yet another botched appointment process. How hard was it to pick up the phone and make a few calls, especially to the GOP members of the committee that would conduct the confirmation hearings?
I have next to no opinion on this matter. I'm not even close to an expert in intelligence. I also have no basis upon which to evaluate the pros and cons of military leadership of predominantly civilian intelligence agencies.

However, I find myself somewhat bemused, in a cynical and disgusted sort of way, that the howlers behind the Beltway have found yet another issue to politicize to death. While politics may be the bloodsport of kings within the capital--and across the newsrooms and think-tanks of the Reasonable, Intelligence and National Security are far too vital for such banality.

Is General Hayden the most qualified person to direct the CIA or isn't he? If he is, then how about we nominate him? Nah, better to give Al Qaeda and the franchise islamists an opportunity to take advantage of a distracted CIA and American public. Brilliant.

But as long as Reasonable Mouth-foamers of the BDS Left have yet another opportunity to blame Bush, what's the down side?