May 7, 2006


Exit of C.I.A. Chief Viewed as Move to Recast Agency (MARK MAZZETTI, 5/07/06, NY Times)

Porter J. Goss, who was forced to resign Friday, was seen as an obstacle to an effort by John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, to focus the agency on its core mission of combating terrorism and stealing secrets abroad. General Hayden, who will be nominated to the post on Monday, is currently Mr. Negroponte's deputy, and he is regarded as an enthusiastic champion of the agency's adoption of that narrower role.

A senior intelligence official said that General Hayden, in a recent presentation to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, had sharply criticized Mr. Goss for resisting that transformation. Mr. Goss was seen as trying to protect the C.I.A.'s longtime role as government's premier center for intelligence analysis, but under General Hayden, who is currently Mr. Negroponte's top deputy, much of that function is intended to move elsewhere. [...]

General Hayden has spent his career in the military, but his relationship with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has never been close, and a Bush administration official said Saturday that he was being selected, in part, because he had demonstrated an ability to set aside a parochial military mind-set and look at the broader picture.

Mr. Negroponte himself has had a difficult year trying to bring the Pentagon's vast intelligence operations under his control. Historically, the Pentagon has controlled more than 80 percent of the nation's intelligence budget.

The administration official said that President Bush had chosen General Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency, in part because of his success in running a large, complex organization.

The disastrous effect of well-intended civil service reform was to make bureaucrats permanent and loyal to their bureaucracies. Patronage may have been distasteful but it created massive cyclical turnover and workforces loyal to the administrations that gave them jobs. It is quintessentially democratic but was replaced by a system that is unfortunately statist.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2006 7:44 AM

Another facet in the legacy of progressivism.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct at May 7, 2006 8:01 AM

Yes, exactly, Civil service reform created a powerful monopoly entity that the left could capture, and it was only a matter of time before the left did (as they are more ruthless and devoted to acquiring power than everyone else).

Patronage may be imperfect but it prevents that disaster. Perhaps the best solution would just be that the President can fire anybody at will, but it takes a Presidential order, so he has to accept the political consequences, as Clinton took the political consequences of firing all the US attorneys.

Posted by: pj at May 7, 2006 10:09 AM

Two things PJ. Didn't FDR 'reform' the civil service after he had placed his people? It was born captured by the left. Just a quibble. Second, why not just go back to Patronage? It would strenghen the Parties, who need it, and give millions of people a turn behind the counter.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 7, 2006 11:54 AM

Conservatives already have the knives out Hayden. Wahat's wrong with these people?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 7, 2006 12:55 PM

Patronage and the equivalent of smoke-filled rooms need to be reinstituted so that good candidates don't destroy each other in primaries and candidates can be chosen who share our values and are electable, not those who have the biggest campaign chests or who most appeal to the media.

The RNC has let us down by not letting the purists on the far right know that their snits will put all of us in jeopardy, invite terrorists to our shores and put Hillary or someone like her in the White House. A very strong voice needs to get them to wake up to the danger of their childish behavior and it needs to be done very soon.

Posted by: erp at May 7, 2006 1:35 PM

Ahh, but Mrs. Erp, purists like nothing more then 'speaking truth to power'. If the RNC were to lecture them like you hope, they would redouble their efforts. The purists may be acting like children, but they are not, and cannot be sent to their room.......

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 7, 2006 1:51 PM

Robert, There are professionals out there who know how to present a compelling argument tailored to the far right. Not lecturing or hectoring, but geared toward speaking truth to power (what on earth does that mean) in the real world, the world we live in, not some idealized Land of Oz.

They must be made to understand that by their actions, the worst case scenario will unfold.

Arlen Specter? Any chance of his being removed from the chairmanship of the intelligence committee?

Posted by: erp at May 7, 2006 7:57 PM

Thank you for your time, Mrs. Erp. The professionals have to be found, hired, vetted and given air time. All harder then we would like.
'Speaking truth to Power' is easy. They are standing on a table and screaming at the top of their lungs 'You are not the Boss of Me!'. Hard to get understanding into a tantrum. Would Mr. Specter be less dangerous if he felt he had been betrayed?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 7, 2006 8:25 PM