Hayden “Comes Clean”

20060508t193833z_01_nootr_rtridsp_2_oukw LEVIN: An independent review for the CIA, conducted by a panel led by Richard Kerr, former deputy director of the CIA, said the following — and this relates to the intelligence prior to the Iraq war — "Requests for reporting and analysis of Iraq’s links to Al Qaida were steady and heavy in the period leading up to the war, creating significant pressure on the intelligence community to find evidence that supported a connection."

Do you agree with Mr. Kerr?

HAYDEN: Sir, I — as director of NSA, we did have a series of inquiries about this potential connection between Al Qaida and the Iraqi government. Yes, sir.

LEVIN: Now, prior to the war, the undersecretary of defense for policy, Mr. Feith, established an intelligence analysis cell within his policy office at the Defense Department.

LEVIN: While the intelligence community was consistently dubious about links between Iraq and Al Qaida, Mr. Feith produced an alternative analysis, asserting that there was a strong connection.

Were you comfortable with Mr. Feith’s office’s approach to intelligence analysis?

HAYDEN: No, sir, I wasn’t. I wasn’t aware of a lot of the activity going on, you know, when it was contemporaneous with running up to the war. No, sir, I wasn’t comfortable.

LEVIN: In our meeting in our office, you indicated — well, what were you uncomfortable about? Let me…

HAYDEN: Well, there were a couple of things. And thank you for the opportunity to elaborate, because these aren’t simple issues.

As I tried to say in my statement, there are a lot of things that animate and inform a policy-maker’s judgment, and intelligence is one of them, and, you know, world view, and there are a whole bunch of other things that are very legitimate.

The role of intelligence, I try to say it here by metaphor because it’s the best way I can describe it, is you’ve got to draw the left- and the right-hand boundaries. The tether to your analysis can’t be so long, so stretched that it gets out of those left- and right-hand boundaries.

Now, with regard to this particular case, it is possible, Senator, if you want to drill down on an issue and just get laser beam focused, and exhaust every possible — every possible ounce of evidence, you can build up a pretty strong body of data, right? But you have to know what you’re doing, all right?

I got three great kids, but if you tell me go out and find all the bad things they’ve done, Hayden, I can build you a pretty good dossier, and you’d think they were pretty bad people, because that was I was looking for and that’s what I’d build up.

That would be very wrong. That would be inaccurate. That would be misleading.

It’s one thing to drill down, and it’s legitimate to drill down. And that was a real big and real important question. But at the end of the day, when you draw your analysis, you have to recognize that you’ve really laser beam focused on one particular data set. And you have to put that factor into the equation before you start drawing macro judgments.

LEVIN: You in my office discussed, I think, a very interesting approach, which is the difference between starting with a conclusion and trying to prove it and instead starting with digging into all the facts and seeing where they take you.

Would you just describe for us that difference and why you feel, I think, that that related to the difference between what intelligence should be and what some people were doing, including that Feith office.

HAYDEN: Yes, sir. And I actually think I prefaced that with both of these are legitimate forms of reasoning, that you’ve got deductive — and the product of, you know, 18 years of Catholic education, I know a lot about deductive reasoning here.

HAYDEN: There’s an approach to the world in which you begin with, first, principles and then you work your way down the specifics.

And then there’s an inductive approach to the world in which you start out there with all the data and work yourself up to general principles. They are both legitimate. But the only one I’m allowed to do is induction.

LEVIN: Allowed to do as an intelligence…

HAYDEN: As an intelligence officer is induction.

And so, now, what happens when induction meets deduction, Senator? Well, that’s my left- and right-hand boundaries metaphor.

LEVIN: Now, I believe that you actually placed a disclaimer on NSA reporting relative to any links between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein. And it was apparently following the repeated inquiries from the Feith office. Would you just tell us what that disclaimer was?

HAYDEN: Yes, sir.

SIGINT neither confirms nor denies — and let me stop at that point in the sentence so we can stay safely on the side of unclassified.

SIGINT neither confirms nor denies, and then we finished the sentence based upon the question that was asked. And then we provided the data, sir."  Hayden Transcript


The "mainstream media" are doing a great job of ignoring this exchange in the Hayden CIA hearing, but what Hayden did here is repudiate altogether the Administration assertion (supported by various bogus commissions and the SSCI under Roberts) that intelligence analysts were not "pressured" by abusive repetitions of "requests" for information into backing away from what they knew to be true about Iraq before the war.

Look at what Hayden said:

– There was pressure from Feith’s Office pushing the analysts towards judgments that were desired by Feith and company.

– That he was aware at the time of the pressure that it existed.

– That the "World View" of parties un-named in the Administration "informed" their judgment as much as the opinions of the intelligence community.  This is important because the administration is now claiming that it is innocent of "original sin" in this matter and that the colossal errors in understanding Iraq were altogether the fault of the intelligence community.

– That the Feith/neocon crowd went outside the "boundaries" of what the intelligence community thought might be the situation in Iraq and were incompetent in the attempt.

– That the Feith/neocon crowd ignored evidence contrary to their views.

– That the Feith/neocon group committed the ultimate "sin" for an intelligence analyst, i.e., they used "deductive" rather than "inductive" reasoning in reaching their conclusions about Iraq.  "Deductive" thinking is poison injected into the bloodstream of the government’s decision process.  it inevitable leads to the USAF’s favorite metaphor, the "Self Licking Ice Cream Cone."

– That when "pressed" by the Feith/neocon crowd about NSA’s conclusions concerning the AQ/Iraqi connection, he caused NSA to respond that "SIGINT neither confirms nor denies.."  This was an appropriate response for NSA which is a COLLECTION arm of the intelligence community and which does not perform analysis in the sense that the term is properly used.  At the time, he could have stepped out from behind that curtain to have his agency make a statement which would have (however improperly) supported the Feith/neocon position on this, but he did not.

Bottom Line:  This guy ain’t no dummy and can see where all this is ultimately going.  People are enraptured now by the 1st and 4th Amendment issues raised by the NSA programs, but this is at least as important.

Pat Lang


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37 Responses to Hayden “Comes Clean”

  1. Patrick Henry says:

    Excellent Post Col..
    Tango Yankee…

  2. jonst says:

    I’m not going to do all the hunting and citing that I should be doing to back up my asserations here. But all of the items on your list, at the bottom of the page and prefaced by the phrase “:”look what Hayden said” were known, indeed, one might argue widely known by 2003. These facts were studiously and steadfastly avoid by the MSM and by Congressional leaders, in both parties. The American people resolutely refuse to hear, never mind believe, this stuff when it was raised in 2003. And a great many still refuse to hear, again, never mind believe, further evidence of what happened and how we got into Iraq.
    As to Waterboard Mike…he can go to hell. The Republic does not need more people like him, however slick and bright he may be. He is one more apparatchnik who senses the tide is turning in the latest round of bureaucratic infighting. That is a harsh judgment on my part. And who the hell am I to make it one can rightly argue. But it is a judgment I stand by. I watched the hearing. It’s my job as a lawyer to listen closely to Q&A sessions. And I do my job very well. I know this guy is hiding something and I don’t mean classified stuff. He is covering Bush’s ass, Bush’s vulnerable legal ass, in the tried and true tradition of the intel community: inoculate yourself against the coming shitstorm by partial disclosure of what’s out there anyway, or of what will so be out there. Its called making a virture out of what will soon be seen to have been a necessity.

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You don’t get it. Someone is going to run the intelligence community. There is going to be an intelligence community. it doesn’t matter what ordinary folks like you or me knew or when. This is an insider who has broken with the the BS. He is going to be head of CIA. pl

  4. W. Patrick Lang says:

    And furthermore, whoever runs CIA will have to be an intelligence professional. Matters of re-organization and re-building stand at a crossraods throughout the IC and nowhere more than at CIA. This is not a time when the Agency can coast for a year as it could when the amateur director, GHW 41 was there. If you have to have a professional and an experienced one, then you will have to suffer along with a sinner, hopefully, a regretful sinner. pl

  5. Patrick Henry says:

    Colonial Lang..
    No matter Gen. Haydens Qualifications..it seems to me he is Basically an ET Guy who is willing to go along with the Administrations attitude of pushing the limits of Government and the Constitution and THEN challenging everyone to Prove them wrong..
    These guys are all Administration appointed Insiders…rather they disagree with Rumsfelds Operation and Group or not..
    I think that none of these people are “Trusted” or have the Full Confidence of alot of Congressional members or the American People..
    Instead of a” ET” Spook running CIA..I would rather have a guy in there who Has a THINKING BRAIN…Between His EYES and EARS..LIKE YOU..
    An Experienced Guy like You…Combat Vet..Ground Pounder..Knows and understands Military operations From experience..
    Knows how the System Works..Knows What TEAM WORK is..
    Knows all the Good..bad..and Ugly aspects of the Chain of Command and the Political system..
    Knows the INTEL Business like you does..
    Has a Connection to and understands the NSA..with the Question mark Perception of POLITICAL LOYALTYS..or Has already Acted in a Way that indicates the MILITARY Thinks it should be in Control of the Government and its Operations..
    CIA should be run by a Well Qualified Guy whose Primary expertise is the Middle East..and that Region of the World..and
    There have been several Recent Commentarys to that effect in the Media Lately..
    my point is…There may be challenges to Gen. Haydens Appointment..We will see..
    I agree that CIA needs the BEST Director Possible NOW..
    But SLAM DUNKING Gen. Hayden as a Quick FIX solution is Very Questionable in my Mind..
    It will NOT resore Confidence to Millions of People who already dont like or TRUST this Administration..
    YOU..Col..LANG…are the Only Man I Know right now…who has all the “IGHT STUFF.”.and Meets ALL Qualifications ..as a Military trained Combat Officer..as an intel Guy..As a Middle east Expert…as a Linquist..and a Man who Knows HISTORY..You Have the EDUCATION and EXPERIENCE..
    As a Man who will do whats BEST..for the Agency and the NATION..
    My question is..If given the Opportunity…would you take the JOB.as DCI..??
    Congress should have some GOOD alternatives..
    For the GOOD of the NATION..

  6. jonst says:

    Please, with all due respect, and I have enormous respect for you, and your work, I DO ‘get it’. I simply disagree with you. Your statement “And furthermore, whoever runs CIA will have to be an intelligence professional” means we are doomed. Not that I expect anything different. It matters little what I want…as it matters little what the American people may, or may not want. The criminal enterprise that runs the govt now will put who they want in. And who they want, is by definition someone I personally think should not be in said office. In my dreams I would like “intel professionals’ to WORK in the CIA, or DIA. I would suggest they not be allowed to HEAD up the agency. For now. I prefer, in this case, honesty, decency management skills, over experience. It is not that we could not find experienced intel people who posses these qualities. I suspect the majority of intel pros have these qualities in abundance. But I still would put my money on a total outsider. I think a new mindset at the head is long overdue. And I see little in the intel products of the past that makes me think we will be losing much

  7. Patrick Henry says:

    My Previous comments shoudl have READ..
    “ITHOUT.. the Question Mark Perception of Political Loyaltys..”
    In my opinion..Gen. Hayden still Leaves the Impression of Being an “Insider”..either Pentagon or Administration..
    I don’t care how Smart He is..He has already made His Position Clear on the Constitution..and NO
    of POWER and AUTHORITY..
    Just Excuses for MORE Power..
    and MORE Authority..
    For the Good of the SHEEPLE..
    At Least…Thats what we will Keep Telling them..

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I knew I would regret saying that.. Sorry. you get it.
    Unfortunately for your point about gifted amateurs, they are hard to find. Too often what you get instead are politically committed academic ditherers.
    In addition, any CIA director will be appointed by the president and will serve at his/her pleasure. pl

  9. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Sure. Sign me up. Seriously I would do whatever was necessary. Thanks for the compliment. pl

  10. ikonoklast says:

    Maybe the next time they trundle out the tub of Kool-ade Hayden will just say no, but you can never really trust an addict. His stance on the domestic electronic surveillance is understandable – as the scope of the thing is being revealed it’s patently obvious that you can’t get a warrant on a sizeable percentage of the American populace, even if you have three or four extra days to see a judge. So his choice of national security and duty over questionable legality is forgiveable. Or was, in the days following 9-11. He’s still sticking to his guns, though, even as the whole scheme has proved fruitless. No Osama yet, but who knows, he might just have to use a pay phone to order a pizza stateside one of these days and the trap will snap shut.
    However, admitting the truth about past events while following leading questions in a Senate hearing room is a long way from standing up and shouting “stop” when the light’s about to turn green. Was Hayden in the group of generals who were doing everything but standing on the roof of the Pentagon waving semaphore flags in the days before the Iraq invasion, trying to signal to the zombie press that there were some genuine problems with the plan?
    In any event it’s probably a done deal and he’s going to CIA. And of course it would have to be a professional in that position, no question. But why not bring someone out of retirement to do the job? Someone with the credentials of yourself, Colonel, a pro whose main objective is getting the job done and fixing the mess. Someone who doesn’t have anything to lose. One of the reasons we’ve gotten to this point – not solely in the intelligence community, but in the country overall – is because to the people chosen for positions of responsibility, accomplishing their tasks has been secondary to career protection and licking the spittle off the boots of their political masters.
    It’s a naive thought, of course. In this particular reality, if it weren’t Hayden it would be some other drone who could keep the image going in the face of failure.
    Who takes over at NSA, by the way?

  11. jonst says:

    No problems, PL, no problems. I know what you meant. Just reacting myself to all the anger and frustration I am feeling. Many of us are feeling, including you I suspect. For the country, this stuff is terrible. With worse to come. For me personally, this debacle is kicking up stuff from long ago.
    I thank you so very much for this forum. Just want that to be crystal clear about that. You are doing your country another service PL. Even if at times we disagree on tactics!

  12. john pfeifler says:

    I don’t know General Hayden personally. However, his reputation within the intelligence community tends to the positive. He pulled the NSA kicking and screaming out of its Cold War mentality. Now that President Bush has eviscerated the CIA it may be time to put someone in charge with proven ability.
    General Hayden’s complicity in the NSA domestic spying matter certainly raises questions about his suitability as head of the CIA. But, his confirmation hearing is also providing a long overdue look into the NSA program. This look would not be necessary if the Congress had performed any oversight. A smart Captain told me years ago that “doers do what checkers check.” Congress has been AWOL for the past five years. Not offered as an excuse, just spreading the blame around all the guilty parties.
    I am looking forward to the day when a responsible Congress tackles the Bush years. It should prove quite entertaining and enlightening if we survive the next few years. Meanwhile, the damage Mr. Bush and the Congress have done to the intelligence community requires some fixing even if only short term until a competent government takes over.

  13. Patrick Henry says:

    Meeting of the Minds..With Mutual Respect..
    my Compliments to you Both..
    Col..Tango Yankee ..for your Response to my Quiry..
    And I Meant it..
    NOW is the time and opportunity to FIX….The Agency..
    No matter who opened the Door…With the Attitude of Self assurance that the
    Control of the Agencys Administration and Functions would go to Thier Hasnd picked man..
    Not so fast…….!!
    Mr. Goss was Apparently Taken
    by suprise…
    He is quoted.. when asked why he was Leaving..as saying it was another “Mystery”..
    He was sending a message…and I think trying to give smart people some insight into the “INTRIGUE”..going on around DC..
    I understand it was a Power play..People didn’t like Goss’s Attitude..or Resistence to Policycs and Certain Administrators..
    I Understand that someone was complaining to the “Oversight committee’ about goss’s attitude..and also suggesting the the President..that Goss was a Problem and needed to be replaced..
    The Question is WHY..??
    And the Suspect Timing..
    I understand the Comments by JONST..for also seeing a NEED for GOOD LEADERSHIP at CIA..and wanting a Clear Outsider..
    a Honest Man..with integrity..
    And MUST Have Clear Administrative…Leadership Abilitys..
    But..I Believe He MUST be Experienced..
    and can Step Right into the Command Center and UNDERSTAND what is immediately going on…and can RAPIDLY Catch up with the Program..
    and the Situation..
    YOU QUALIFY Col. Lang..
    You ARE Rertired..already..
    One up on Gen. Hayden..
    YOU are Better qualifed…and Im sure anyone who knows you..or Trys to under4stand you as a Man..KNOWS..
    You are the BETTER Man for the Job..
    And Congress has the Opportunity to do this One Thing Right..
    There is No requirement to ACCEPT…the Presidents Nominee..Gen Hayden..
    Both Republicans and Democrats..have GRAVE Concerns about Affairs of state…and Administrations Policys..
    Because there is a Growing awarness of the CONSTITUTION…and RIGHTS TO Privacy..In the Back of Everyones Mind..
    EVEN..In the Congress..
    so I say…;”Congress…Take your time..Examine the Evidence..and Realize you owe it to the Nation..and the People You Represent..
    with the RIGHTS..of those People..In Mind..THEY ARE..
    And Consider that there are other..GOOD..Qualified..LOYAL Candidates for the NEW Job Opening for DCI..
    Director..Central Intelligence..
    Take your time Congress..
    Decide Wisely..
    I Nominate..Col. Patrick Land..Retired..as the NEW ..Director of Central Intelligence..
    Just ask the MEN and WOMEN…who KNOW Him..

  14. jonst says:

    I second the nomination!

  15. Eric says:

    I personally can’t get too excited about it. The vets in PA will probably put a good horse down in the next hour or so, and it will probably get more press than the cozy litlle Tete-A-Tete between Levin and Hayden.
    And it ###damned well should.
    Tom Ricks reported all this Oct. 2002-Mar. 2003.
    If Shinseki, Newbold,Jones or any of the other 3-4 stars had thrown the stars on Rummy’s desk, retired, and spoken frankly in a timely fashion, this strategic clusterfuck might have been stopped. And let’s not forget “good soldier” Colin Powell.
    Were they hoping to command a corps or small army in battle as the pinnacle of a “career”-Against a 5 th-rate army I might add?
    Who knows, I’m praying for the horse. He had some spirit.

  16. taters says:

    Dear Col. Lang,
    I am a constituent of Sen. Levin. I have a file full of letters that he has sent to me in response to the many times I’ve written him. His responses aren’t like many others who often issue a staff written generic/standard constituent letter, there is time and thought put into them by a pretty busy guy. We probably agree 95% of the time. I consider myself very fortunate to be represented by him. His brother, Sandy, is my congressman. They both epitomize to me the finest aspects of public service. Sen Levin has gone on record as stating Gen. Hayden as an excellent choice. The message that I got from Levin was “they finally got one right.” Former Sen. Bob Graham believes Hayden is a great choice. Another guy high in my book. From what I understand – and I believe I read that here – Hayden does not fear Rumsfeld. Add the fact that Kappes would return – perhaps some of the others that resigned during the Goss purge. Now obviously I’m a layman in these matters – but if Gen. Hayden gets a thumbs up from you – while you fiercely denounce the main telecom companies doing what they did – makes me pause and think that this is a good choice, by far better than the vast majority of crony hack appointees that this adminstration has made. I can’t exactly recall Larry Johnson’s take on this but I hardly believe I’m the only one that would love to see the two of you weigh in on this, pro & con.

  17. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I am with you about the horse, a damned shame.
    I also agree with you about the line generals who should have quit in protest.
    Hayden’s position is a little different. as head of NSA and a career intelligence guy he was not involved in the planning for OIF.
    His argument is that once all the lawyers told him the program (however repulsive) was legal and the president then ordered him to carry it out, he had no choice. I find that to be a more impressive argument than I do the pleas of people like Franks who say that Rummy is hard to fend off, but, that is me. pl

  18. Eric says:

    I agree with you Pat; just venting a little out of utter frustration. Hayden was, of couse, not a line
    What impressed me most, I guess, in this sordid affair, was how the military legal wallahs, at the highest levels, expressed their views in writing about the Geneva Conventions, novel methods of interrogation, detention, etc.

  19. Eric says:

    Add one final thing.
    The top JAGS probably did not help their careers any by their writings.

  20. Patrick Henry says:

    It is My impression that Hayden is still defending His Actions and Decisions..
    even during his Confirmation Hearings..
    THAT suggests to me that He is also Defending the Presidents Decisions..and Actions….
    Because He uses the Same Arguments to defend them..as the President..who told us there would be no domestic Spying w/o FISA~ Warrants..
    Seems like more CYA..and the BOSS’S..
    Blame someone else..
    And..Stay in the Game..
    I am under the Impression the NSA~ DOMESTIC Data Mining was Haydens Idea..
    And the Lawyers just gave him the GREEN LIGHT..
    Am I led to Believe it was the Presidents Idea..??
    And that He ORDERED NSA to go ahead and Spy on American Citizens without WARRANTS or Probable Cause..??
    And everyone Mumbled “Damn”..What about the Constitution..and Peoples Rights..”??
    And Heyden..JUST OBEYED ORDERS..like a good Soldier…
    In That Regard..
    He is..Apparently..
    He is..After All.. the Presidents Chosen Man..
    Whats NEXT for American Citizens..??
    NOVEL Methods of Interrogation and Detention..??
    ALL Rights Abolished..??
    HOW Far will this Administrations Mind Set Go..?? What else will get the OK..
    The NOD and WINK..??
    We are another Step in that Direction…..
    and Its turning into a MINE FIELD..
    As far as I’m Concerned..
    “Don’t TREAD On Me..”
    My names NOT…OSAMA..

  21. Norbert Schulz says:

    The fable the CIA wasn’t pressured has always felt like nonsense to me, it’s pretty much common sense: Repeated specific questioning, after receiving negative answers repeatedly, is in itself suggestive, even if the individual question is not.
    I have an apt illustration: My brother lend me a pair of shoes a while ago. I was pretty much sure I returned them, until months later he called me and asked for their whereabouts. He asked so persistently, and annoyed, that I not only searched my entire flat, even though I was sure to have returned them – eventually I started to doubt my memory. My sister joined the fray, siding with my brother. Eventually I took into account the possibility that I did lose them (after all I’m somewhat messy) and I was embarassed and apologetic. It came as a relief when my brother eventually found them in his flat (he’s somewhat messy too).
    What really struck me was that in the end I ended up appeasing, wrongly, because I started to lose my certainty. My brother wouldn’t ask so persistently and specific if he hadn’t a point, would he? A peculiar experience.
    I find it encouraging that Hayden kept a level head in the run-up to war, and added his disclaimers. He certainly would have got more love from the top if he hadn’t. Of course, a cynic might dismiss that as an exercise in CYA. Anyway, I don’t want top be cynical, and so it gives me hope that Hayden would do well in resisting the intense buereaucratic pressure oozing out of the Pentagon and Vice president’s office, so Levin might well be right when he calls Hayden the right man. Thanks to PL’s elaboration I find the fears that ‘the military is taking over the CIA’ unfounded, too.

  22. FMJ says:

    I’m not sure how appropriate it is to plug your own work on someone else’s blog, so if I’m out of line here, please remove my link.
    I’ve written quite a lot about the “deductive” reasoning used to conclude that the infamous aluminum tubes were destined for an Iraqi nuclear program. The SSCI and Robb-Silberman reports discuss the Intelligence Community’s various assessments of the tubes over 2001-2003, but they mix them all up. I spent a few weeks late last year going through the reports’ footnotes and references and putting the assessments in chronological order. What I found was that a “Red Team” wrote the only assessment that said the tubes could be used as centrifuge rotors without significant modification. The Red Team’s paper was written a little more than a week before the publication of the October 2002 NIE, in which it formed the basis of the IC’s tubes “majority position”.
    Anyway, if anyone would like to check out my work (a warning: it’s long and very technical at times), the link is here:

  23. jonst says:

    I have no faith, none, in the EFFECTIVNESS of the Levin’s of the world, however wise and well meaning, and perhaps even noble, they may indeed be. The country, I believe, is on a dangerous and self-destructive path to say the least. Nothing good can or will come from this administration. Nothing good has come from the feeble, half-hearted, Democratic opposition. The opposition to what is happening in the country will have to come from the American people, if they really feel something is horribly wrong with the class and type of people running the US right now. The change won’t come from, or be lead by, the Gen Hayden’s of the world. They are too compromised and cautious, by nature, to lead it. At best, AT BEST, we can hope they won’t viscerally oppose change, if and when, the American people demand it.

  24. Norbert Schulz says:

    good point. I have argued hard with a friend over that, and my perception is that a Republican war, thanks to the rutheless exploitation of ‘national security’ by the Republicans, can only be ended by Republicans.
    That is underlined by that Bush only really got under fire, when eventually his own party attacked him over the war, after resisting comparable Democratic criticisms for a long time, and easily.
    Democrats against the war will unavoidably denounced as ‘weak on national security’ at least, if not as traitors, by their republican counterparts, or their points are denounced as being partisan when the GOP has a mild day. Thus, Democrats consistently try to out-hawk the Republicans – with the results you described: As an opposition they are ineffective in these critical matters of national security.

  25. Norbert Schulz says:

    It is an example of how the inherent relativism of the bias argument is undermining the health of the state and destroys discourse in the public square: “Of course, he’s against my point, he’s my political opponent!”
    While that is right to a point, it is no substitute for a political discourse. And American can ill afford the lack of that, in fact, it’s ailing because of that lack already. It immediately puts the opponent on the defensive, forcing him to justify himself, to bring up evidence why he is not biased. “See? I’m not weak on defense, I even like torture, preventive war and missile defense! Dodge this, conservative opponent! Hah-Hah!” Nothing sensible can come of that.
    The result is that facts are left aside, and that decisions are made in the emotional realm. Just watch FOX news – the lone Dems making the ‘liberal counterpoints’ are laughable. FOX pits the guy with the nice tie and the soft speak (or Anne Coulter), saying dems are traitors for whom hanging is to good, against a ‘liberal’ freaking out about it, and then takes this provoked anger as a confirmation of their own argument. It’s demagoguery, plain and simple.
    From my perspective, that’s not conservative. It’s dishonourable. If the Democrats are ineffective and laughable, the Republicans share blame for not playing fair, and for helping to wreck the political climate, hopefully not beyond repair.

  26. David Goldberg says:

    I am a retired senior chemical warfare intelligence analyst and served on a UN inspection team in Iraq in 1993. Based on my experience and knowledge, I told those who would listen that Iraq had no WMD capability and no WMD weapons in the period of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Furthermore, in an off the record conversation with one of my former co-workers, I was told that my former organization tried to take a footnote in the Iraq National Intelligence Estimate, which means they don’t agree with the findings, and was told to”but out that the decision to invade had already been made and there input was not wanted.” It has always been clear to me that the intelligence was cooked to support the policy and the Downing Street memo proved this was the case.

  27. McGee says:

    Hi Colonel et al,
    Great discussion as always. I for one hadn’t read about the Levin/Hayden exchange which I found very positive, and reinforced praise for Hayden I had heard over the years from folks who know him. Like any of us he has his faults, but can’t really imagine the Bush adminisration picking anyone we’d like any better if he were to be rejected. Ray McGovern, who once described him as the “malleable General Hayden” (which I thought pretty much nailed it), has been quoted recently as recommending him in the end….

  28. zanzibar says:

    Since I know nothing about Hayden or intelligence collection and analysis, please take my comments with a huge dollop of salt.
    Hayden seems like a competent intelligence officer but his pushing the line that the 4th amendment is about “reasonableness” and not “probable cause” causes me deep concern that he has no dilemmas when it comes to constitutional rights of American citizens. Our national security apparatus needs to be run by knowledeable and competent officers who are true to their oath of preserving and protecting the constitution. Hayden does not pass that test. Following orders is not excusable if the orders are likely illegal. Hayden is well aware of FISA and making an end run around that much debated law proved they were clearly engaging in unlawful activities.

  29. HerbEly says:

    No Political Pressure On Intelligence?

    The Robb-Silberman commission report on intelligence analysis of prior to the Iraqi war made the claim thatthat in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments.. As I noted last December, that

  30. Citizen Dane says:

    A simple question:
    “Everyone” seems to agree that the main problem for western intelligence regarding the so called GWOT is the lack of HUMINT.
    So … appointing a guy who might be described as a SIGINT addict to head the US intelligence agency with the biggest HUMINT responsibilities, namely the CIA, how smart is that?
    Can Hayden be trusted to direct the CIA in the right direction, or will he go for the “all things shiny and flashy” solution, and thus leave US intelligence in the dark as far as an operative HUMINT capability goes?
    Just wondering …

  31. W. Patrick Lang says:

    This is not a valid criticism IMO. As Director he is not going to be the operations chief of CIA. Kappes is going to be that and he is a master of the dark art of espionage (clandestine HUMINT). Hayden is going to be the “outside man” dealing with Negroponte and the community management responsibilities of his job as “national HUMINT Manager.” He has given every indication that he takes very seriously the need to build up the HUMINT function and I think that sufficient. Incidentally he was never a SIGINTer until he was Director of NSA. He was, however, Air Attache in Sofia during th Cold War. That was a considerable HUMINT job if it was on the overt side. In that job he would have worked closely with the CIA station in Bulgaria pl

  32. Patrick Henry says:

    Citizen Dane..
    Good Point..My Contention also..
    Does CIA Nneed a SIGINT ORIENTED..SPECIALIST…to be the New DCI..??
    Is that really what the Agency Needs..??
    The “COMPANY” is unique in that it has a History and Reputation as the Premier HUMINT Intelligence Agency for the United States..
    Thats Thier Core JOB..They are ESTABLISHED..The NETWORK is there..and FUCTIONING..
    I am sure if CIA needs to upgrade thier SIGINT Capabilitys…With Thier HUMINT..ANALYSIST JOB..
    That can be done and applied as Needed..>IF Needed.. without changing the “Structure” of the CIA..
    I dont think a SIGINT specialist is right for DCI..
    IF He is going to Weaken or undermine the CIAs HUMIT Capabilitys and NETWORK..
    And we wont know that until Hayden takes over The FUNCTIONS of CIA..
    Based on Past performances by this Administration and Dept. Heads..I..for one dont want any more “Uncertainty” about “JOB PERFORMANCE”\After the Fact..I/E..Like DHS Responses to katrina..
    I Saw…Let Gen. HAYDEN..wear his FOUR STARS..and his ONE HAT..
    over at NSA…where He does what He does BEST..
    Being an ET GAMER..
    With an ET Brain..
    And let a Real MAN Run the CIA..Who knows what gathering HUMIT means frrom hands on Experiences in the Jungles of S.E… Asia..
    and Doing it with his “TEAM”.. BOOTS ON..
    in the “REAL”…Kill or Be killed World of the GREEN BERET..
    Who knows WAR from First hand Experience..Who Fights to WIN..
    But Does not like to see “Wasted Life”
    A Man who undstands the Human Cost of War..
    A Man who is Extremely Well Educated..
    An Intel EXPERT..who knows all Phases of the Intel Business..
    A Man Known and Respected by All the Right People…Whose respect matters..
    A `Man who knows The MIDDLE East..Asian and Multi Culture Mind Sets..
    and LOGIC..(from thier PERSPECTIVE..)
    A Man who could work with NSA and other Agencys and DOD Operators..
    and The Political System..
    becuase He isw a man Who Has ..
    And I say Again…The ONLY Man know right Now..
    AND..Who is an “Independent Qualified Outsider” ..
    IS…Colonial PATRICK LANG..Retired..
    And I Hope before Fridays VOTE for Gen. Hayden..a Man who MAY just Undermine our HUMINT Capabilitys and Networks at a time when We NEED them this Most..
    THAT Congress realizes that there are.BETTER QUALIFIED People Out there for the JOB..
    ALL Aspects of the JOB..
    And Stop taking more “Chances’ with another Bush Nomination..and “HOPING” everything will Turn out Well..
    They Haven’t so FAR,..
    I Hope someone back there Can Find a way to get a GOOD INDEPENDENT Like Col. Lang up for Consideration ..
    I don’t like a ONE PARTY..
    Thats NOT How you get the Best people for the JOB..
    How about a little “Democracy”!!
    OR…some New Politicians..

  33. ked says:

    after reviewing these excellent posts and contemplating the admin’s remaining years, it occurs to me… is there a quiet coup taking place? is there a gestalt behavior of like-minded civil servants aimed to minimize the willful damage that this gang is perpetuating upon the nation? I realize it is far-fethched, but at this point I am squinting for any ray of hope.

  34. Citizen Dane says:

    Colonel – thank you for the answer. Point taken; I’ve simply been wondering and haven’t been able to find an answer anywhere.
    And sorry for this rather late reply, but I’m running on Zulu+2 and have a day time job to do too 🙂
    You’re doing a great job here, BTW – for what it’s worth.

  35. Publius says:

    Col Lang makes a good point about the role of the intel professional in determining operational equities. One may not like the answer and/or the operation, but if the lawyers say it’s OK, and unless one has some basis for doubting them—which can happen, but it wouldn’t with a guy of Hayden’s background—one faces some pretty stark choices. We don’t know what Hayden personally thought about these operations. We do know he carried them out, apparently with what he believed to be the requisite legal authority. In short, he did his job.
    Put my vote with those who fault those multi-star combat arms folks far more than they do Hayden. As a guy who’s like COL Lang (retired Army and intel operator as well), I have little use for a lot of those “perfumed princes” (to borrow from an old acquaintance) who saw their duty as being “to get along, go along.” IMO we can throw yet another serious concern into the mix along with our (legitimate) worries about corruption of the intelligence community: that of the transformation of senior military officers into politicians’ lap dogs. I would not want to be on active duty in today’s military. I’m afraid it would just a little too difficult to respect a lot of my “superiors.”
    In the disagreement regarding whether the DCI post should be occupied by the “bright, honest amateur” vice the old pro, I’ll go with the old pro. And he/she doesn’t have to be a spook to lead spooks, so long as it’s not a SIGINTER. I do not like the idea of SIGINTERs leading HUMINTERs (been there, done that, and it’s disasterous), but as Col Lang points out, Hayden is not one of them. He does have a solid intel background and, although I’m not so sanguine about his clan HUMINT cred as Col Lang (attaches? Maybe.), the fact is he’s got a much better background than most DCIs have had. Helms was a career spook. Check him out with Nixon. Colby was nothing special. And then the amateurs. Need I say more than Goss?
    Great topic on this great blog.

  36. W. Patrick Lang says:

    My point wuold be that the Bulgaria attache thing would be considerably better than nothing. And hen there is Kappes.. pl

  37. Publius says:

    Point taken, Colonel. I was being a little snarky there, but attaches have always been a mixed bag. For example, there have been instances where insistence that a target was covered led to denials of the application of other means. But then there are the times when attaches have done some above and beyond things to get the job done. And of course there are the guys who like the cocktail circuit and don’t want the boat rocked. In fairness to attaches, it’s a tough job and I think they reflect service desires as well as country team pressures.
    In the case of Hayden, I have no idea of what type of attache he might have been. All I was pointing out was that I doubt whether the mere fact of having been an attache would necessarily make one more sympathetic to or more versed in clandestine work.
    But on the bright side, Hayden’s not an electrician and we essentially agree on the “better than nothing” point. And, as you point out, the DDO drives the train in the ops area. DCI still has to keep the wolves at bay, though.

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