Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Military Officer Can Be CIA Director

Pres. Bush has nominated Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to replace Porter Goss as CIA director. Hayden has a lot of experience in the intelligence field. Opponents of the nomination base part of their opposition on Gen. Hayden's military status. They think that a military officer should not head a civilian intelligence agency.

If confirmed, Hayden will not be the first military officer to serve as CIA director. Pres. Truman nominated 2 military officers for CIA director. Most recently, Pres. Carter made Admiral Stansfeld Turner his CIA director.

Opponents of the nomination worry that a military officer will answer to the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense. Admiral Turner recently addressed the concerns over a military officer as CIA director. Turner said that, while he served as CIA director, he did not report to anyone in the Defense Department or the military and that no one ever suggested that he should.

The concerns over having an Air Force general as CIA director are misplaced. The concerns reflect more an anti-military bias. Many of the opponents of the nomination would oppose any nominee put forward by Pres. Bush. Gen Hayden should be evaluated as any civilian would be. If he is qualified, he should be confirmed. His military status should not be a factor in the confirmation process.

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