Gen. Michael V. Hayden, nominated by President Bush to head the CIA, is the man responsible for the most extensive attack ever on the privacy of US citizens.
As USA Today reveals, it was during the six years that Hayden ran the ultra-secret National Security Agency that the Feds gained access to the phone calling records of most Americans. By cross-checking those phone record against other readily available databases, the Feds are now in a position to profile the intimate daily lives of the citizenry–providing a tool that no Big Brother could ever have dreamed of obtaining before the advent of modern telecommunications technology.
Yet this assault on our freedom was never disclosed to the public, debated by our elected representatives or tested by the courts. Most disturbing is the revelation by USA Today that leading members of Congress–Democrats as well as Republicans–had been told of this ghastly assault on our freedom but did nothing to thwart it. They must now be held accountable.
So too Gen. Hayden, who obviously should not be trusted with running the CIA spy agency after having engineered such massive spying on the American public. There were already sufficient reasons to reject this nominee, but the latest charge dwarfs previous concerns.
It makes perfect sense for Bush to nominate Hayden as CIA director, no matter what the critics, including a surprising number of normally house-broken Republicans, have to say.
True, Hayden was in charge of the National Security Agency during the run-up to September 11, a massive terrorist attack which intelligence agencies are built to prevent. But remaining unflappably confident while getting it all wrong is a vital credential for the head of the CIA under this Administration.
Recall that former CIA Director George Tenet was honored by Bush with the Medal of Freedom for dutifully pretending that the case for WMDs in Iraq was a “slam-dunk” and politely taking the hit on Bush’s infamous “sixteen words” State of the Union lie about that African uranium.
The Bush Administration long ago abandoned the idea that intelligence should ever be permitted to curb this President’s imperial hubris or political agenda.
Were it otherwise, the President would not be turning over control of the CIA, long presumed to be a civilian check on the military, to an active-duty general whose loyalty to the President was proved by his eagerness to conduct illegal wiretapping of unsuspecting Americans.
Hayden passed that test superbly while head of the NSA, proudly defending Bush’s illegal eavesdropping on the same citizenry whose freedom the President is sworn to preserve, while stonewalling the probes of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arnold Specter, who considers the wiretaps illegal.