Bush Consolidates Power
The only way I can read Bush's nomination of Air Force General Michael Hayden to lead the CIA is further consolidation of power. With Hayden, he has a military man heading his intelligence gathering--a streamlining of that unhelpful checks-and-balances system that prevented him from seemlessly tailoring fake CIA intel to his Iraq invasion. This was so much in evidence that yesterday national security advisor Stephen Hadley essentially confirmed it by denying that "when he steps in, he will not be reporting to Don Rumsfeld." When you have a Pentagon guy heading the CIA, you prepare talking points saying he won't be taking orders from the Pentagon.
But of course, Hayden isn't principally compromised as a military man--that's just window dressing for the really big problem:
Hayden has defended Bush's domestic eavesdropping program, run by the NSA under Hayden's leadership, since its disclosure in December.It boggles the mind. Bush has put in a man who will obey his orders, who has broken the law and conducted obviously illegal surveillance, and whose very appointment is an affront to the CIA's function as a civilian organization. Bush, the most secretive president in the modern era, lately buffeted by encroaching reality checks, wishes to sew up any seams in his administration that might let in fresh air and oversight. This is a pretty serious exercise of executive power-grabbing, and the implications are not in any way obscure.
Bush wants to invade Iran. Putting the CIA under Hayden will eliminate one of the biggest problems he had in making the case for war against Iraq--the (sort of) independence of George Tenet. No worries with Hayden, right?