White House Official Defends CIA Pick


"The CIA is demoralized," said Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general and general counsel to the Defense Department who served on the 9/11 Commission. "It has lost a great deal of talent, and the first thing for a new leader will be to really build up the esprit de corps and sense of mission and lead the place."

More than a year and a half ago, President Bush nominated then-Rep. Porter Goss to head the embattled agency and called him the right man for the job, but reports said that Goss was being forced out of the job. Hadley said today that Goss had indicated months ago that he wanted to leave his position.

Can Hayden Stand Up to the Military?

It may not be enough for Hayden to simply leave the Air Force, said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate committee that must approve his nomination.

"Now, just resigning commission and moving on, putting on a striped suit -- a pinstriped suit versus an Air Force uniform -- I don't think makes much difference," Chambliss said on "This Week."

For Republicans and Democrats alike the issue is independence. After 37 years in uniform, can Hayden stand up to the Pentagon or, if necessary, his commander in chief?

"I am concerned that having someone with military background heading an agency that has a tradition as being a civilian agency may send the wrong signal," said Rep. Jane Harmon, D-Calif., a House Intelligence Committee member.

"A lot of our CIA employees in the field are already worried about what they call a DOD [Department of Defense] takeover."

The Pentagon, with nine of the government's 16 spy agencies, was the biggest opponent of efforts to revamp the nation's intelligence structure, and it still spars with the CIA for money and influence under the new national intelligence director.

"There is a power struggle going on between the Department of Defense and the entire rest of the intelligence community," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "So I don't see how you have a four-star general heading up the CIA."

Hadley said Hayden would not have a problem acting independently and in the best interest of the American people.

"Mike Hayden is a man of great integrity," he said.

"He had some very strong views, and when we did intelligence reform and he was very clear about them in terms of the Congress of the United States, what in his judgment was required to have an effective reform process. Secondly, he's stood up to the pressure within the National Security Agency of transforming that institution and dealing with the bureaucratic challenges."

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