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BREAKING NEWS ~ Bush nominates Air Force general Hayden as CIA director

[JURIST] President George W. Bush has nominated Gen. Michael V. Hayden [official profile as director of the Central Intelligence Agency [official website], to replace Porter Goss [official profile], who resigned [JURIST report] unexpectedly Friday. Hayden currently serves as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence [ODNI website] and several members of Congress have already come out against the nomination [AP report], saying that it is inappropriate for a military general to head the spy agency. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) [official website], chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, expressed concern Sunday that the Air Force general should not head the civilian agency, saying "he is the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Hayden's nomination must be approved by the US Senate and several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who will review the nomination, including committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website], have said that they will use the confirmation hearings to question [Reuters report] the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The National Security Agency [official website] began using warrantless wiretaps on communications that took place in part in the US during Hayden's tenure as NSA director, and Hayden has joined other Bush administration officials in defending the program [JURIST report].

11:10 AM ET - In announcing the nomination, Bush said:

With the agreement of the Senate, Mike will succeed a great patriot in Director Porter Goss. Under Porter's leadership, the CIA launched a five-year plan to strengthen the agency's human intelligence capabilities. This plan involves increasing the number of operatives and sources in the field, and building up the agency's analytical capabilities, so the hardworking men and women of the CIA have the resources they need to penetrate closed societies and secretive organizations. ...

I'm confident that Mike Hayden will continue the reforms that Porter has put in place and provide outstanding leadership to meet the challenges and threats of a dangerous new century. Mike Hayden was unanimously confirmed by the Senate last year for his current post, and I call on the Senate to confirm him promptly as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Read the full transcript of Bush's remarks.

12:39 PM ET - The White House has now released a fact sheet detailing Hayden's qualifications to head the CIA.

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