If the Post is correct, Bush will merely paper over the Rumsfeld problem with another one: a self-avowed expert on widespread domestic spying. Moreover, that Rumsfeld requires "reining in" is the best argument yet for dumping him. In the meantime, Bush — while he still occupies the Oval Office —should find a competent civilian, preferably one who's actually read the Fourth Amendment.
Washington Post Reporter Dana Priest writes:
...intelligence specialists say Hayden's appointment may turn out to be a clever move by intelligence czar John D. Negroponte to help him assert authority over Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his burgeoning intelligence bureaucracy. Negroponte, who by law oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, has expressed frustration that he has not made more progress in managing the agencies under the Defense Department's jurisdiction.If Priest's story is correct, we're in big trouble. Negroponte was appointed by Bush to be an "intelligence czar" who would task the CIA with managing the spy operations against human beings and that would include operations from inside the Pentagon. Intelligence "experts", cited by Priest, include those who theorize that the Pentagon is resisting supervision by the CIA. The problem is an organizational hierarchy created by Bush himself.
If Bush via Negroponte were really interested in "reining in" Rumsfeld, why not just fire Rumsfeld for incompetence? How about firing Negroponte and abolishing his office?
What has Negroponte brought to the table?
How is this anything more than just another layer of wasteful, big government bureaucracy?
What has Negroponte done that hadn't been done before his office was created? What has he done to justify the additioanl overhead?
Isn't this all just a miserable and failed duplication of effort?
Doesn't this, in fact, violate every known principle of effective management?
In short —wasn't this all just a stupid idea by a failed President?
Does it make sense to appoint a man who has demonstrated —in a belligerent manner —that he has not bothered to read what the Constitution says about "probable cause"? At last, widespread domestic spying is defended by Bush himself; why would Bush engage in arcane cirumlocutions to "rein in" his own policy? Has the Post drunk the Kool-Aid?
Now —a rift between a "civilian" CIA and the military hierarchy under Rumsfeld makes sense. What doesn't make sense is layering over the problem with another militaristic ideologue like Hayden. The simpler solution is to simply appoint a competent, non-partisan civilian with intelligence expertise instead of Hayden. Secondly, fire Donald Rumsfeld.And as if to prove my point, Priest write:
"The concern about Hayden is not really about Hayden, it's about Rumsfeld and Cheney" said one former senior intelligence officer, referring to Vice President Cheney's strained relationship with the CIA and allegations that he used Pentagon-gathered information on Iraq's weapons because it comported with his personal view on Iraq.What Bush can do about Cheney, I leave to the reader. The nation, of course, will be better off when both Cheney and Bush are out of power and out of sight.
Again Priest writes:
"Hayden seems to be one of those guys who will, without hesitation, stand up to anyone with whom he disagrees," said Mackubin T. Owens, professor of national security studies at the Naval War College. "He's out of Rumsfeld's reach."That puts lipstick on a pig. Standing up for what one sincerely believes is one thing. Being too pig headed to see the truth or to admit being wrong is something else again. The best argument against Hayden's appointment is his arrogant, stubborn insistence that what he said about the Fourth Amendment was correct. Here's the text of the exchange:
QUESTION: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I'd like to stay on the same issue, and that had to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I'm no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use÷The reporter with Knight Ridder was right; Hayden was flat out, dead wrong! And would not admit it. If Hayden is going to violate the law, he should be expected to have read it. The most successful crooks, after all, are the ones with the better understanding of the law they break. Hayden flunks the successful crook test.
GEN. HAYDEN: No, actually÷the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That's what it says.
QUESTION: But the measure is probable cause, I believe. [the reporter is correct; Hayden is flat wrong!]
GEN. HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.
QUESTION: But does it not say probable÷
GEN. HAYDEN: No. The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure...
GEN. HAYDEN: ... Just to be very clear÷and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it's the Fourth.
—[Thanks to Mark Cripin Miller for publishing the transcript above]
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission