Tuesday :: May 9, 2006

Is Hayden Being Nominated To Protect The Agency?

by Steve

There is an alternate theory emerging inside the Beltway about the Michael Hayden nomination for DCI. The conventional wisdom behind the opposition to Hayden heading the CIA, from Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as many center-left bloggers like me, is that putting a uniformed officer in charge of the Agency would seal Shooter and Donald Rumsfeld's control over the remaining part of the intelligence community that the military doesn't already directly control. The alternate theory began emerging over the weekend, first put out there by Steve Clemons at his Washington Note blog, and now by the respected Dana Priest of the Washington Post today, wherein the Hayden nomination is actually the opposite: a move by Negroponte to install a uniformed officer to fight off Rumsfeld and Cheney, and protect the Agency's primacy and turf while knowing exactly how the military currently operates.

The Priest article puts forward the idea that Hayden was touted by Negroponte precisely because he would stand up to Rumsfeld and Cheney, and would work to rebuild relationships with allied intelligence services while putting more money and attention into increasing the human intelligence capabilities of the Agency, something that many agree is necessary. And Negroponte and Hayden's first move, to bring back the highly-regarded Agency veteran Stephen Kappes as the possible Number Two would not occur if Kappes had the slightest indication that Hayden would neuter the Agency for Rumsfeld's pleasure.

So the key question is whether or not Negronponte, who has been given the keys to the car, would willingly turn over turf to Rumsfeld, or would he seize the chance to get the pathetic Goss away from the damage he caused and bring aboard two guys who can help him fight off Rummy? If you buy the argument that Priest is touting however, you would also have to accept the idea that Bush is siding with Negroponte over Shooter and Rummy here. And if you accept that possibility, then you would also have to accept that Bush is comfortable with clipping their wings and influence as well.

Steve :: 8:43 AM :: Comments (13) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!