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UPDATE:  This is intriguing — TPM Muckraker finds a connection between Gen. Hayden and MZM.  That should make for some fun questioning during confirmation hearings.  And don’t miss this from Laura Rozen.

What does it say about the President of the United States that John Negroponte had to push Porter Goss under the hooker express bus discuss the possibility of resignation with Goss, because the President was too much of a weenie to do it himself — and now he’s selected the DCI candidate choice of Negroponte and Cheney, announcing this morning that Gen. Hayden is, indeed, the nominee to head up the CIA (as we reported yesterday).

I just don’t know what to make of news coverage that says outright that other people are doing the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting for the CEO Prez.  What does it say when even Timmeh Russert said outright over the weekend that Negroponte would be making the hiring call on this, and the President would simply be the person designated to stand up and make the de facto announcement?

President as prop, and Russert reports it.  Who woulda thunk it?  And, if true, how pathetic is that?

The LA Times is reporting that, should Hayden be confirmed, personnel changes at the CIA are likely.  Well, not exactly rocket science on that one, considering the reputation for piss poor behavior the Goss political martinets acquired at the Agency, now is it?  I’d say the Gosslings are already circulating their resumes to the headhunters and neocons think tanks and wingnut welfare societies in town, and that the speculation on the number two position being shuffled is spot on, considering it’s currently held by another military man — and two military types would most definitely be one too many at the helm of the CIA.

Over the weekend, the NYDailyNews reported that, indeed, the Goss resignation was tied to the Duke Cunningham/MZM hookers and poker scandal:

CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly resigned yesterday amid allegations that he and a top aide may have attended Watergate poker parties where bribes and prostitutes were provided to a corrupt congressman.

Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, the No. 3 official at the CIA, could soon be indicted in a widening FBI investigation of the parties thrown by defense contractor Brent Wilkes, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the bribery conviction of former Rep. Randall (Duke) Cunningham, law enforcement sources said.

A CIA spokeswoman said Foggo went to the lavish weekly hospitality-suite parties at the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels but "just for poker."

Intelligence and law enforcement sources said solid evidence had yet to emerge that Goss also went to the parties, but Goss and Foggo share a fondness for poker and expensive cigars, and the FBI investigation was continuing….

Goss’ inability to handle the allegations swirling around Foggo prompted John Negroponte, the director of National Intelligence, who oversees all of the nation’s spy agencies, to press for the CIA chief’s ouster, the senior official said. The official said Goss is not an FBI target but "there is an impending indictment" of Foggo for steering defense contracts to his poker buddies.

Well, isn’t that interesting? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a really good cigar, a poker game and some hookers can apparently get you a $3 million water contract in Iraq.

Hayden’s nomination is all over the teevee this morning, with a full court press coming from the Administration on this and some tap dance from a select few Republicans who will, no doubt, be won over by Gen. Hayden’s sincerity and clarity of purpose for reform and the good of the nation in a few short days of meeting him before the confirmation hearings.  Let the political minuet begin…

UPDATE:  Speaking of full court press by the Administration, Negroponte is briefing on Hayden in the WH press room as I type.