Gen. Michael Hayden refused to answer question about spying on political enemies at National Press Club. At a public appearance, Bush’s pointman in the Office of National Intelligence was asked if the NSA was wiretapping Bush’s political enemies. When Hayden dodged the question, the questioner repeated, "No, I asked, are you targeting us and people who politically oppose the Bush government, the Bush administration? Not a fishing net, but are you targeting specifically political opponents of the Bush administration?" Hayden looked at the questioner, and after a silence called on a different questioner. (Hayden National Press Club remarks, 1/23/06)
Interesting, eh? THIS is the man that they are floating out as the heir apparent for the DCI job?
I don’t know about everyone else, but if Rover and the WH are working this hard to push some sort of internecine battle storyline between the Cheney and Negroponte camps and the CIA insider factions — you have to wonder just how much there is to the Dusty Foggo/Porter Goss poker and
hooker escort extravaganza, don’t you? (See Jane’s excellent recap on this, if you have questions.) No one works the DC phones this hard unless they are trying to spin the story away from something else. And I say that something else isn’t just some late-night poker.
Still waiting for an answer on that "why an immediate resignation instead of several weeks notice in order for the President to name a successor and ensure a smooth transition" question? Big ego battle isn’t enough of a reason.
Looks like Tony Snow can expect a fun first day at the office. *snerk*
UPDATE: Mwahahaha. Dana Priest’s hyped article on Goss’
firing by Negroponte because Bush was too much of a weenie to do it himself "resignation" was a bit of a letdown. But this cracked me up as a snarky inclusion:
Foreign intelligence heads, who used to spend hours with Goss’s predecessor, George J. Tenet, discussing strategy and tactics, are now more likely to meet with the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, whose position was created in the overhaul of U.S. intelligence agencies.
One senior European counterterrorism official, asked recently for his assessment of Goss’s leadership, responded by saying, "Who?"
Goss, then the Republican chairman of the House intelligence panel, was handpicked by the White House to purge what some in the administration viewed as a cabal of wily spies working to oppose administration policy in Iraq. "He came in to clean up without knowing what he was going to clean up," one former intelligence official said.
Goss’s counterinsurgency campaign was so crudely executed by his top lieutenants, some of them former congressional staffers, that they drove out senior and mid-level civil servants who were unwilling to accept the accusation that their actions were politically motivated, some intelligence officers and outside experts said.
"The agency was never at war with the White House," contended Gary Berntsen, a former operations officer and self-described Republican and Bush supporter who retired in June 2005. "Eighty-five percent of them are Republicans. The CIA was a convenient scapegoat."
I’d say Dana Priest and her sources are taking a bit of a vengeful whack at Goss on his way out the door. Mwee hee. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but sometimes a warm little appetizer can be pretty damn tasty.
UPDATE #2: In re-reading the Priest article, one thing did strike me near the end — the Rumsfeld/Negroponte struggle to the death-match for autonomy or control on the defense end of the intel services. When you couple that with the Cheney push for Hayden, does anyone else get the sense that Rummy may be winning that battle? And, given his stellar track record with Iraq planning, I’m not exactly feeling any safer in that context.
(Hat tip to reader bkny for the Digby link.)