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Robert Scheer: Hayden—the Spook in Your Phone

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Posted on May 9, 2006
Gen. Michael Hayden

Air Force general and CIA nominee Michael Hayden

By Robert Scheer

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of Robert Scheer’s original May 10 column.

Michael V. Hayden, nominated by President Bush to head the CIA, is the man responsible for the most extensive attack ever on the privacy of U.S. citizens. As USA Today reveals, it was during the six years that Hayden ran the ultra-secret National Security Agency that the feds gained access to the phone calling records of most Americans.

By cross-checking those phone record against other readily available databases, the feds are now in a position to profile the intimate daily lives of the citizenry—providing a tool that no Big Brother could ever have dreamed of obtaining before the advent of modern telecommunications technology.  Yet this assault on our freedom was never disclosed to the public, debated by our elected representatives or tested by the courts.

Most disturbing is the revelation by USA Today that leading members of Congress—Democrats as well as Republicans—had been told of this ghastly assault on our freedom but did nothing to thwart it.  They must now be held accountable. So too Gen. Hayden, who obviously should not be trusted with running the CIA spy agency after having engineered such massive spying on the American public.  As my Wednesday column, reproduced below, indicates, there were already sufficient reasons to reject this nominee, but the latest charge dwarfs previous concerns.


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    Original column begins:

    It makes perfect sense for President Bush to nominate Gen. Michael V. Hayden as CIA director, no matter what the critics, including a surprising number of normally housebroken Republicans, have to say. 

    True, Hayden was in charge of the National Security Agency during the run-up to Sept. 11, a massive terrorist attack that intelligence agencies are built to prevent. But remaining unflappably confident while getting it all wrong is a vital credential for the head of the CIA under this administration. 

    Recall that former CIA Director George Tenet was honored by Bush with the Medal of Freedom for dutifully pretending that the case for WMD in Iraq was a “slam-dunk” and politely taking the hit on Bush’s infamous “16 words” State of the Union lie about that African uranium.

    The Bush administration long ago abandoned the idea that intelligence should ever be permitted to curb this president’s imperial hubris or political agenda. Were it otherwise, the president would not be turning over control of the CIA, long presumed to be a civilian check on the military, to an active-duty general whose loyalty to the president was proved by his eagerness to conduct illegal wiretapping of unsuspecting Americans.

    Hayden passed that test superbly while head of the NSA, proudly defending Bush’s illegal eavesdropping on the same citizenry whose freedom the president is sworn to preserve, while stonewalling the probes of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who considers the wiretaps illegal. 

    “Now, with Gen. Hayden up for confirmation, this will give us an opportunity to find out” more about the eavesdropping program, Specter told Fox News, probably over-optimistically—especially since Hayden will be confirmed by a Bush-friendly committee.

    Hayden headed the NSA from 1999 until last year, when John D. Negroponte appointed him as his top deputy upon assuming the newly created position of director of national intelligence. And therein lies the real reason for Hayden’s appointment; his proven loyalty to Bush and his man, Negroponte, who by forcing out Porter Goss as head of the CIA and replacing him with Hayden now assumes unprecedented control of the vast U.S. intelligence apparatus. 

    Hayden’s track record does not otherwise justify this appointment. It was on Hayden’s watch that the NSA, after all, failed to properly alert the president to the Al Qaeda threat. Of course, it is possible that the agency did alert the president of an imminent threat and that the information was ignored as the president traipsed off to his lengthy summer vacation on his ranch; we already know that the system, as Tenet has said, was “blinking red.” But if that is the case, Hayden has not said so. 

    Unfortunately, Hayden has other disasters besides Sept. 11 on his resume. While at the NSA, he tried to implement the expensive, ambitious “Trailblazer” program, aimed at upgrading NSA’s technology, but analysts have deemed the outcome a multibillion-dollar bust. Meanwhile, even a number of prominent Republicans have attacked his bypassing of laws protecting our civil liberties, under Bush’s direction—conducting unauthorized taps on the e-mail and phone conversations of at least 5,000 Americans. 

    “You need someone who will stand up to pressure from the president,” James Bamford, author of two books on the NSA, told the New York Times. “Instead, he’s shown he’s willing to throw out his own principles on civil liberties to please the president.”

    This ability to accommodate totalitarian values in exchange for career advancement is viewed as a terrific asset by Negroponte, who handpicked Hayden for this new job within hours of Goss’ abrupt resignation. Negroponte, after all, is most infamous for his tenure as ambassador to Honduras during the Reagan years, when he exemplified that administration’s see-no-evil approach to monitoring the malleable military dictatorship’s human rights violations—which included everything from the army’s torture and slaughter of nuns to the regime’s arming and protecting the United States-created Contra guerrillas who were terrorizing civilians in next-door Nicaragua.

    No doubt, Negroponte also won the admiration of the Bush honchos through his role during the Reagan years in supplying arms to the Contras in violation of a congressional prohibition on such sales. 

    The inescapable conclusion here is that Negroponte was picked by Bush to be the intelligence czar because of, rather than despite, this unsavory past. Negroponte, with a history of disastrous foreign adventures and contempt for the checks on power required for democratic governance, is an all-too-perfect Bush appointee. So, too, his deputy Hayden, nominated by Bush to head the CIA.


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    Robert Scheer is the editor of and author of “Playing President.” You can e-mail him at

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    By Great JOB Hayden = More Incompetence, May 15, 2006 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    More “Incompetence” by HAYDEN:  Maybe YOU should put YOUR “time” in where IT BELONGS instead of the US TELEPHONE LINES listening to Mary recipes! 

    And how did this happen .... you aren’t doing YOUR JOB? Another FAILURE!

    A Fresh Supply of Iranian Weapons for New Batch of Iraqi Shiite Terrorists

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

    May 15, 2006, 3:55 PM (GMT+02:00)


    In the past two weeks, Iran has been pumping into Iraq two types of extra-lethal weapons in very large quantities. They have already taken their toll in the shooting down of two military helicopters - one American and one British – and an estimated 19 deaths of US military personnel.

    DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources estimate the delivery to Iraqi insurgents as consisting of around 1,000 SA-7 Strela ground-air missiles made in Iran, and a very large quantity of a newly-developed roadside bomb, loaded with compressed gas instead of ball bearings and cartridges, to magnify their blast and explosive power.

    The supplies have been distributed across Iraq - Basra and Amara in the south, Baghdad and its environs, Haditha in the west, and Mosul in the north.

    The new bombs, developed jointly by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanese Hizballah, have already gone into service with the Shiite terrorists on the Lebanese border with Israel. Israeli military sources say it is only a matter of time before the deadly roadside bombs, already used in Iraq, will also reach Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    In Iraq, the new weaponry has had three major effects:

    1. The guerrilla-terrorist groups which received the shoulder-carried, highly mobile Strela missiles have scored three hits in fourteen days. On May 6, they fired a missile from one of Basra’s crowded alleys and downed a British military helicopter, killing all four military personnel aboard. Sunday, May 14, Iraqi insurgents shot down an American helicopter, killing its two crewmen over Yussifiya, inside the Triangle of Death south of Baghdad.

    2. The number of roadside bomb attacks, their precision and lethality is going up all the time. Sunday, May 14, four US soldiers died in these blasts in the western Anbar province and Baghdad, while 2 British soldiers were killed and another injured at the same time near Basra. In seven days, the British force stationed in southern Iraq lost seven men, a record for that space of time in the three-year war. In the first half of May, US troop losses spiraled to 19, most of them the victims of the new roadside bombs.

    3. Together with the new Iranian weapons, a new array of Shiite terrorist groups has sprung up and is hitting American and British troops. The coalition has imposed a blackout on this disturbing development.

    Until now, the insurgent forces fighting the coalition consisted mostly of Baathists, Islamist and al Qaeda. The only Shiite enemy was the radical Mogtada Sadr and his Mahdi Army. The appearance of the new Shiite insurgents is a dread milestone in the Iraq war, one which has caught US and UK commanders by surprise and unprepared for the steep rise in troop losses.

    DEBKAfile’s Exclusive Iraq sources offer some information on the new groups. One is located north of Baghdad and calls itself Brigades of the Imam Kazim. Another, called Brigades of Imam Ali, claimed the attack on April 27 in Nasiriya in which one of their new roadside bombs killed two Italian troops. In the Rostumiya region south of Baghdad, a Shiite group called Brigades of the Imam Hadi has begun operating. Our sources report that this group has been firing Katyusha rockets at American bases in the region, similar to the mortar attack directed at a British base in Amara Monday, May 15.

    After each attack, these unknown quantities issue bulletins describing their actions, some accompanied by video footage from the scene of action.

    The blackout was imposed on the new Shiite groups in the absence of American or British intelligence on who they and their commanders are, how they operate and what makes them tick. Research must start from square one to find out whether they are being controlled from Tehran, some Iraqi Shiite faction or elements which chanced to lay hands on the new-fangled weaponry.

    Report this

    By Theosophus, May 13, 2006 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    You argue Michael Hayden’s “ability to accomodate totalitarian values in exchange for career advancement is viewed as a terrific asset by Negroponte, who handpicked Hayden for this new job within hours of Goss’s abrupt resignation.”  In saying this, you seem to contradict your earlier observation that: “remaining unflappably confident while getting it all wrong is a vital credential for the head of the CIA under this administration.”

    Surely, for the U.S. agricultural, raw-material, communications and banking corporations threatened by the Latin American Left during the 1970s and 80s, Reagan, Negroponte, Oliver North and the other “anti-communist” crusaders could not have gotten it more right.  Granted, few Central and South American peasants killed during that period had any knowledge of Marx or communist theory; with their economic situations worsening daily, they were simply struggling to survive.  Too, being pragmatists with middle-class existences to protect, their Sandinista-style leaders were preparing revolutions that would have been no more egalitarian than Russia’s in 1917 or China’s in 1949; both of which only a blind ideologue could presently fail to recognize were, while progressive, quite modest anti-feudal, state-capitalist transformations (something Lenin not only acknowledged but logically defended in May 1918, and again in June 1921). 

    However, the utilitarian meaning of “communist/communism” used by menaced Western corporations was: “anyone and anything which threatens our interests.” Hence, for them, raping, torturing and slaughtering—into submission or out of existence—individuals who posed the threats was seen as a painful but imperative endeavor; a ”removal of cancer in order to save the patient,” they often intoned.  Under the circumstances, a superficial Reagan and brutal Negroponte, Oliver North, et al., were precisely what THEY needed.

    The material reasons for today’s “war on terror” are just as apparent, as you suggested in a February 8th Huffington Post, writing:

    “Like the Cold War before it, the ‘war on terror’ is a conveniently sweeping rationale for all manner of irrational governance, such as the outrageous $2.77 trillion budget the president proposed to Congress . . .  Without terrorism, how could Bush justify to fiscal conservatives the whopping budget deficits that he has ballooned via his tax cuts for the wealthy that he now seeks to make permanent?  Without terrorism, how could he convince government corruption watchdogs that the huge increases in military spending and homeland security – 7 percent and 8 percent respectively – aren’t simply payback to the defense contractors who so heavily support the Republicans every election cycle?”

    Here too, however, I disagree with your proposition that the “war on terror,” and the Bush plan it’s being used to justify, constitute “irrational governance.” As with the Cold War, the “war on terror” has a discernible and very rational, basis.

    To begin with, today economic survival for Japan, the U.S. and Western Europe, requires that they sell ever-greater quantities of their manufactured goods to non-industrial countries: shoes, shirts, suits, pots, plates and pans, TVs, blenders, movies, music CDs, etc.  That, in turn, means cutting the throats of the Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Afghanis, et al., who hand-make shoes and sandals, turbans and traditional attire, hammer out pots and pans, form and fire pottery and dishes. It means severing the throats of native actors and artists, replacing their nations’ tastes with those of the industrial West. 

    In 1979 the indicated conflict of interest brought down the Shah of Iran.  For over a decade, Reza Pahlavi had stayed in power by keeping a foot in both camps, the feudal-elite and pro-industrial-elite. The Shah attempted to protect and encourage his country’s fledgling industrialists by taking control over education, politics and the economy away from Iran’s feudal-world clerics, promoting the inevitable industrial-elite country separation of church and state.  He carried out what he called a “White Revolution,” which entailed seizing many of the feudalists’ large land-holdings and turning them over to his pro-modernization cronies (who, unable to do much industrial-modernizing, often used them as private estates).  The Shah wanted to build a large steel-making complex and undertake the manufacture of cars.  At the same time, he tried to hold the feudalists at bay by funding the clergy and continuing to permit them a limited authority over politics and education.

    Having a foot in both camps, the Shah got torn apart.  When he sought help from the U.S. re building the steel-making complex we turned him down.  He then began hesitantly looking to the U.S.S.R.  But, utilizing its aid policies, arms sales and oil connections, the U.S. successfully discouraged such a move; while the U.S.S.R., not very advanced respecting the production of most modern industrial goods, was neither able nor willing to provide much assistance. In order to secure his own shaky position, the Shah had been silencing with torture, or “disappearing,” many of Iran’s brightest pro-industrial youths; who, though they often considered themselves “communists,” were of the same progressive-bourgeois mold as the leaders of the Russian and Chinese revolutions. 

    By the late 1970s, with Western manufacture pouring in, Iran’s feudal vs. industrial-world conflict had become acute.  Wherreupon, millions of middle and lower class Iranians, their social existences being devastated, joined with mullahs, whose religious perspectives and socio-economic functions were being similarly undermined, and brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power.  (The Shah suspended government financing of the mullahs in the year before he was toppled).  Temporarily stopping the West’s injurious penetration of their country’s economy and attempting to reconstruct a reactionary 16th century socio-economic-political order enabled Iran’s mullahs, middle classes and poor to survive; and the struggle for socio-economic survival, as political theorists from Machiavelli to Marx have contended, is what politics, including political violence, is all about. 

    The same essential process which led to the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi is currently at work throughout much of the Muslim world, from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, to Afghanistan, and Iraq, to Indonesia and Muslim regions of the Philippines.  It’s also at work again in Latin America and other non-Muslim Third World regions.  By enabling U.S. agricultural corporations to undersell them, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has already driven between 6 and 9 million small-and-poor Mexican farmers off the land. Were it not for the ability of many to enter the U.S. as illegal aliens, they, too, would almost certainly have become “terrorists,” directing their violence at either the U.S. or their own government. 

    While citing Marx is out of fashion, his remark about the “Natural Necessity” for industrial-elites (capitalists) to continually extend their operations certainly seems relevant here. “The development of capitalist production,” he wrote, “makes it constantly necessary to keep increasing the amount of the capital laid out in a given industrial undertaking, and competition makes the immanent laws of capitalist production to be felt by each individual captalist as external coercive laws.  It compels him to keep constantly extending his capital, in order to preserve it, but extend it he cannot, except by means of progressive accumulation.”

    Before leaving Iraq at the end of June, 2004, L. Paul Bremer, Bush-appointed Head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, engaged in just the kind of driving-Third-World-peoples-to-the-wall, under consideration.  In the February 28th, 2005 issue of “Foreign Policy in Focus,” Antonia Juhasz reviewed the “economic imprint” Bremer “left behind” in the form of “orders,” and those orders’ probable consequences:

    “Order #39: Privatization of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises; 100-percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; unrestricted tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; 40-year ownership licenses; /permitting/ U.S. corporations operating in Iraq to own every business, do all the work, and send all of their money home. Nothing needs to be reinvested locally to service the Iraqi economy, no Iraqi need be hired, no public services need to be guaranteed, and workers’ rights can easily be ignored.

    “Order #40: turns the banking sector from a state-run to a market-driven system overnight by allowing foreign banks to enter the Iraqi market and purchase up to 50 percent of Iraqi banks.

    “Order #49: drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40 percent to a flat rate of 15 percent.  The income tax rate is also capped at 15 percent.

    “Order #12, enacted on June 7, 2003 and renewed on February 24, 2004, suspends ‘all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq, and all other trade restrictions that may apply to such goods.’  This led to an immediate and dramatic inflow of cheap consumer products.  This could have significant long-term implications for domestic production as well.

    “Order #17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq’s laws.  Even if they kill someone or cause environmental damage, such as by dumping toxic chemicals or poisoning drinking water, the injured third party can not turn to the Iraqi legal system; rather, the charges must be brought to U.S. courts under U.S. laws.

    “Then there are the approximately 200, mostly U.S. and other international advisers, who will remain embedded as consultants in every Iraqi Ministry after the official occupation has ended.” 

    All this makes the utilitarian function of our military-industrial complex rather obvious.  We economically devastate the Third World poor.  In desperation, they get behind Osama bin Laden personalities who, like Khomeini, propose to stop the West’s destructive penetration of their economies (in actuality, as in Iran, out of necessity, they can only significantly reduce, rather than stop, that penetration).

    It’s hardly “chance” that the economic crises gripping Egypt, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states are daily more expropriative not merely of those countries’ poor, but, sons and daughters of the elites themselves. As a consequence, bin Laden and Zawahiri types automatically come to the fore to urge that Western interests and Western-oriented elites be forcibly expropriated, and 16th century systems reestablished; over which, of course, the bin Laden’s and Zawahiris would then hold sway.  Everything holds together: when the Third World’s expropriated turn to violence against us, and their elites to which we are allied, by labelling them “terrorists” and going after them, we are able to justify keeping our own economy working through an ever-greater expansion of our military-industrial structure.

    But that describes only half of our dismal macroscopic material reality. There’s another, no less problematic aspect to consider. 

    Since the late 1970s, faced with growing competition from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and now China, U.S. industrial corporations, from car manufacturers, to tool makers, to clothes producers, have been exporting their manufacturing processes to China, India, Mexico, Central America, Pakistan and other low-wage countries. This has forced tens-of-millions of U.S. factory workers to accept significantly lower-paying employment in the service industry.  Many have found it necessary to work two jobs in order to hang on. 

    To date, three things have saved U.S. workers from the kind of unacceptable injury that leads people to start thinking revolution.  First, they are able to share a portion of the remarkable profit corporations make from using low-paid Third World labor.  The shirt which cost $16 thirty years ago can now be purchased at Walmart, Kmart or Target for $4.95.  An electric drill which sold for $150 in 1980 presently sells for $39,  and so on with that wide variety of goods required for middle and lower-class Americans to maintain their socio-economic status.  More economically secure Americans are often heard to argue against shopping at stores like Walmart and Kmart that profit from exploiting the Third World poor.  In effect, they advise the middle classes and the poor to: “Suffer the ravaging of your social existence like adults!”; an exhortation which the great majority predictably ignore.           
    Secondly, in order to sell things at home corporations have had to find a way to pass some of their fantastic profits on to American workers in the form of money.  They have solved this problem by providing executives and large stockholders with equally fantastic incomes, which they then use to buy and maintain private planes, yachts, mountain retreats and palatial mansions, employing former factory-working Americans to do the building and maintaining.  “Thirty years ago,” Bill Moyers observed, “the average annual compensation of the top 100 chief executives in the country was 30 times the pay of the average work.  Today it is 1000 times the pay of the average worker.”  “In 1960 the gap between the top 20% and the bottom 20% was thirtyfold.  Now it is seventy-five fold.” (, February 24, 2006).  Moyers does not, however, go on to note the system-sustaining “Natural Necessity” of the changes he describes.

    Joan Roelofs (“Why Some Stay Silent,” CounterPunch, January 25, 2006), has very graphically detailed the third, and most important mechanism used to keep the U.S. economy viable, Americans proud and patriotic; namely, our terrorist-hunting military-industrial complex. To quote Roelofs at some length:       

    “The military buys or leases every kind of thing, including buttons, philosophy, toilet paper and real estate.  War industries are spread throughout the country . . . They are crucial in providing employment in the many declining areas of our economy: the rust belt of the Midwest, the shoebelt of New England, the cotton belt of the South.  The corporations and their employees are major consumers in their communities, purchasing real estate, furniture, clothing, food, medical services, entertainment, tap dancing lessons, etc. . .  /M/any ordinary people are simply dependent on the military-industrial complex.  Often, our economy doesn’t provide attractive or practical alternatives for employment or community survival. . . . /T/he military is deeply involved with disaster relief, which brings many more good people into its orbit: Red Cross volunteers, state and local government officials and staff, Vista Workers, etc. . . . Northrop is very generous to career services’ offices in higher education. Programs preparing disadvantaged students for college do well: GE has committed half a million to Brandeis University’s College Bound . . . Associations in minority higher education, such as American Indian college organizations, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the United Negro College Fund, are supported generously. . . Military contractors are attentive to every kind of minority organization: Asians Against Domestic Abuse and Vietnamese American Community (Halliburton); American Indian Science and Engineering Society and National Society of Black Engineers (Northrop Grumman); the Holocaust Museum and the Chinese Community Center (GE).  Boeing has funded the Congressional Black Caucus and the Urban League.  Lockheed even contributes to the Sons of Norway . . . Children are nurtured. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, YWCAs, Little Leagues, UNICEF, Children’s Defense Fund, etc., receive substantial grants. . . . Organizations of ill and disadvantaged children are also beneficiaries: Child Abuse Network, Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, Make a Wish, Juvenile Diabetes, Special Olympics, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, et al. . . .  Health and environmental organizations are not neglected: American Lung Association, Canine Companions, Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, American Cancer Society, AIDS services, Clean Air Campaign, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, etc. . . .  Arts of all kinds are funded, from major institutions such as the JFK Center for the Performing Arts to the Chicago Jazz Orchestra (Boeing), the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Huston (Halliburton), the New York Public Library (GE) and Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (Lockheed Martin).  Even organizations with pacifist connections receive contractor money: GE funds Peter Maurin House and the Hancock Shaker Village. . . Civil liberties and human rights organizations also receive grants: Lockheed gives to the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, GE to the American Civil Liberties Union.” 

    Yet, despite our as yet undiminished willingness to slaughter Muslim and other Third World “terrorists,” and to suppress those at home who resist, the global economy continues moving toward collapse, the global environment toward destruction. Ultimately, we Americans will discover we can not avoid going down along with everyone else, drinking the same polluted water, eating the same hormone-laden meats and mercury-laden fish, and suffering a common expropriation. We will, that is, until and unless we summon the courage to describe and confront the terrible reality of our shared situation, then, determine to do something about it; accepting that where an invasion of our lives and a removal of our freedoms by defenders of the existing socio-economic-political order is concerned we ain’t seen nothing yet.

    Report this

    By Art Durand aka Whitebear, May 12, 2006 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Down to 29% now and dropping.
    Will we just have to tough it out till the last fraction wakes up and says, over morning Wheaties
    “What a bunch of goofy bastids.”?
    Hope not.
    Could we capture the polar bears before they drown and turn them loose in D.C.? Hope so.

    Report this

    By The Oracle, May 12, 2006 at 2:41 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    And don’t forget, Gen. Hayden was head of the NSA when John Bolton, our esteemed recess-appointment U.N. ambassador, showed up requesting information the NSA had intercepted on U.S. citizens.

    Some people claim Bolton only asked Gen. Hayden for NSA surveillance intercepts on 10 U.S. citizens, but after all the lies of the Bush administration, we know better, don’t we?

    And, I figure that Bolton wasn’t the only Bush administration official to ask Gen. Hayden to pass along any NSA intercepts concerning “persons of interest,” like John Kerry and his campaign staff before the 2004 elections. Cheney is bound to have made requests of Gen. Hayden. Possibly even Bush. Rumsfeld, too. And Karl Rove, definitely Karl Rove. Douglas Feith? Wolfowitz? Addington? Alberto Gonzales? Hell, Gen. Hayden probably set up an NSA information kiosk in the NSA building’s lobby and had a line of neo-cons waiting to have their requests filled. Take a number. Take a number.

    It must be nice to have the NSA, under the totally willing Gen. Hayden, helping you spy on your Democratic Party opponents. Listening to their every call. Intercepting their e-mails. Spying on their text messaging. And now the Bush administration is gearing up for the November elections. And even with all their illegal surveillance being exposed, the Republicans probably figure the 2008 presidential election is in the bag. The black bag. A black bag NSA and CIA operation.

    The Bush administration is the most dangerous administration in American history. Nixon on steroids. And many of the Republicans pulling these illegal, anti-democracy stunts are the very same Republicans who supported the crimes of Richard Nixon, and participated in the illegalities of both the Reagan administration and the first Bush’s administration. I guess it’s hard to teach old Republican dogs new tricks…like honoring our democracy and the rule of law. Hell, they make up their own laws as they slouch along, trampling our nation underfoot.

    Impeach them. Arrest them. Throw the book at them. Evil, pure evil seeps from their every pore.

    Report this

    By G. Anderson, May 10, 2006 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)


    “remaining unflappably confident while getting it all wrong is a vital credential for the head of the CIA under this administration”..

    a very apt assessment…

    Report this

    By More TRUTH needed from the can of bucks!, May 10, 2006 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    So let us examine in detail Michael Hayden Financial INVESTMENTS, including any and all Blind TrustS. 

    So let start with:

    how many defense contractors and or suppliers where you or family members invested in within the last 6 years? little tiny issue…yep thought so.

    Come now “Tell the TRUTH” Michael, all XXXXX traders have the paper tickets.  Hard to get rid of the paper when it exists.  tick tick tick

    More dirt upon the floor.
    All the best
    Good Luck with your financials!
    So if you are spying you know I have pink UNDIES on!  LOL

    Report this

    By nancy, May 10, 2006 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Mr. Scheer, this article belongs on the Editorial page of the Los Angeles Times.  To let you know, millions of Time’s readers miss your regular sane and on target columns.  Are you currently writing for any other publication?

    Report this

    By Robert M. Castle, May 10, 2006 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The Department of Defense is headed by a neoconservative civilian, Donald Rumsfield. The CIA, a civilian intelligence agency, may soon be commanded by a neoconservative (If it walks like
    a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.) general, Michael Hayden. Their respective acts or failures to act can only lead one to conclude they have placed the dogma of neoconservatism over the rule of law, the Constitution with its Bill of Rights, and the customs and traditions of American democracy. They want the world to be governd by the laws of neoconservatism.

    Unfortunately the neoconservatees have commandeered the Republican Party much to the dismay of those true to the principles of the historic Republican Party.  Bush and his cabal have replaced those Republican leaders who would not accept the neoconservative dogma while accomodating those who he could convert, like John McCain.  Above all else, the neocons want to rule the world, whatever the cost - so long as they don’t have to pay it.  After all, their gods are money and power.

    Enough said.

    Report this

    By Via, May 10, 2006 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Perhaps Hayden did alert Bush.  I think that the Bush administration had been hoping for the ‘New Pearl Harbor’ to usher in their New American Century.  Hayden, like Tenent, is being rewarded for taking the fall, and making sure the skeletons stay buried.

    Report this

    By mick m, May 10, 2006 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    As referred to above, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show showed clips of Bush’s introductions of these 2 fine men.

    Here, before they take it down, from their own website:


    “He’s the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation’s history.”

    Hayden (or Haden as they spell it in a heading about half-way down):

    No, here it is:

    “He’s the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation’s history.”

    Report this

    By rex, May 10, 2006 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    While NSA is spectacularly successful at eavesdropping on
    US citizens inside their own country they apparently never
    listened to the dozens of calls between Hamburg, Germany and
    Afghanistan by the 9/11 plotters in 1998 and 1999.
    While Iraq supposedly had 971 “WMD SITES’ operating all over the country NSA obtained only the two ambiguous phone conversations between Iraqi soldiers that Colin Powell presented to the UN in years of monitoring Iraqi communications.
    How did those Iraqis manage to run all these high tech WMD
    programs and shuffle WMD around all over the place in trucks just minutes ahead of the UN weapons inspectors without a continuous stream of electronic communications?
    Even the local police can make a case using phone records
    linked to suspicious activity, but apparently the Iraqi
    WMD forces did all this “denial and deception” by mental telepathy.

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    By Sylvia Barksdale Morovitz, May 10, 2006 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Actually, to suit his evil purposes, Bush could have chosen an even more brute of a human than Hayden.  He could have imported Saddam Hussein!  Sure, some may snicker and call this remark off-the-wall, but the differences lie in Hayden’s abilities to keep his dirty work covert for the most part while Hussein was overt for all the world to see.
    Particularly distressing is Hayden’s ‘Trailblazer’ snafu that cost American tax payers billions of dollars.  Can we ecpect less of him as CIA director?  I would suspect there would be more.  One thing that we can truthfully say about our president is that he has no compunction against sinking our country financially!  How much thought could he possibly give to the little man’s struggle to keep his head above water, while appointing such incompetents to high posts and knowing his rubber-stamp congress will approve?
    Arlen Specter is one republican congressman who has the courage and fortitude to try to make a difference.  Most others are sorely lacking in this admirable trait.  Yes, they conjecture for the public but when it’s time for the vote; knowing the disastrous failures of the Bush leadership, still they will do his bidding.  Why?
    Now, Hayden, while director of the NSA and knowing terrorists were inside our country, so much as allowed them to take down out World Trade Centers and nearly 3,000 innocent lives with them!  Yes, Americans need him like a gun-shot to the head to keep our nation safe.  But for Bush, he’s the perfect example of the fly-by-nighters he’s chosen during his entire tenure, to keep us beaten down and afraid all the time!

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    By Diane Noland, May 10, 2006 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This article should be on the front page of every newspaper. Well, more realistically, on every editorial page. Fat chance.

    Report this

    By C Quuil, May 10, 2006 at 8:43 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Oops! Just scrolled down and there was a link to the Jon Stewart video.

    Note to self: scroll first, write later.

    Report this

    By C Quil, May 10, 2006 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Jon Stewart had his say about Bush’s justification for Hayden as the head of the CIA, as the “perfect pick at this critical moment in our nation’s history”, or words to that effect. The thing is, as the old video clip showed, he said EXACTLY the same thing about Porter Goss a couple of years ago.

    Report this

    By Ernest Canning, May 10, 2006 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Goss’s CIA tenure was marked by a purge of anyone within agency who was perceived as disloyal to our would-be Fuhrer.  Hayden’s proposed appointment is intended to consolidate the power of a “unitary executive” as the fundamentalist radical right and the military-industrial complex seeks to overturn two centuries of constitutional law including the concepts of checks and balances, separation of church and state and limitations of the executive branch’s ability to spy on Americans.

    What too few Americans realize is that computer technology permits the NSA to capture entire streams of communications, filtering out those it desires by programming key words.  What is truly frightening is not only that General Hayden would not only carry out the president’s illegal order to carry out warrantless NSA domestic eavesdropping but that he is profoundly ignorant that such actions violate the fourth amendment.  Indeed, his January 2006 comments reveal that he did not even know that the “probable cause” standard appears within that provision of the United States Constitution.

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    By jeff gershoff, May 10, 2006 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I think a better choice would have been TOM Hayden!

    Report this

    By Noel Phillips, May 10, 2006 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This makes me meditate more.Bush is just a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.

    Report this

    By Hilding Lindquist, May 10, 2006 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert Scheer writes:

    “This ability to accommodate totalitarian values in exchange for career advancement is viewed as a terrific asset by Negroponte, who handpicked Hayden for this new job within hours of Goss’ abrupt resignation. Negroponte, after all, is most infamous for his tenure as ambassador to Honduras during the Reagan years, when he exemplified that administration’s see-no-evil approach to monitoring the malleable military dictatorship’s human rights violations — which included everything from the army’s torture and slaughter of nuns to the regime’s arming and protecting the United States-created Contra guerrillas who were terrorizing civilians in next-door Nicaragua.”

    We are always wondering how some things happen as if they were choreographed yet we know there was no conspiracy as such.

    It’s because there are some common beliefs that are widespread enough in our economic calculations that they connect us like nodes in a lattice. Even the smallest vibration is then felt throughout, instantaneously.

    One of these beliefs is that by pursuing my own self-interest, I best pursue the interest of the community of which I am a part.

    (Please note, I think this is a crock ... )

    This is part of the radicalization of human society by the politics of corporate power. As long as those whom I would define as “corporationists” can depend on key employees to pursue their self-interest—defined economically and socially as “their career”—they can expand corporate control over society ... which, by the way, is far from conservative principles in our historical perspective. It is a radical deviation from the founding principles of our nation.

    So how does it all get choreographed without overt conspiracy? Everybody looks to the leader. Corporationists look for those examples that will best advance their careers within the corporate organizational structure and internalize the attributes of these examples, such as loyalty, secrecy, and obedience. We have been indoctrinated by our system of education—as one aspect of growing up—to face forward and accept the authority of the person at the head of the room. It is a wonder that any of us break off to pursue the creative possibility of our imaginations.

    For the corporationists, their belief structure is “proven” by their economic success. This gets us back to the age-old story of Esau who sold his birthright for a pot of porridge. The corporationists are selling our (and their) birthright for the illusion of living well for a generation or two by raping the world of its resources.

    Report this

    By Emperor Norton II, May 10, 2006 at 5:42 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Brilliant. Thanks for the truth, Robert.

    Report this

    By JP, May 10, 2006 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Outrageous diversion of media attention to issues of “breaking the law” by focusing on immigrants, while our “leaders” blithely step on civil liberties with abandon.  No amnesty for Bush!

    Report this

    By Robert, May 10, 2006 at 5:26 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    With all due respect, that’s

    H-E-I-L BUSH!

    or better yet,


    Report this

    By SamSnedegar, May 10, 2006 at 4:40 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Remember that these guys aren’t just liars; they also covet, kill, and steal. More than mere high crimes and misdemeanors, we are talking about sin and evil. Bolton is evil. Negroponte is evil. Hayden is evil. On the other hand, Rice is merely foolish like her puppet President. I haven’t decided yet whether Cheney is evil or stupid; perhaps he is an evil, stupid man.

    Keep up the good work Bob, even if you won’t say oil any more. We understand that you have book contracts to protect.

    Report this

    By StopHayden, May 10, 2006 at 4:37 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Send a note to congress reminding them that, however perfect Hayden is for Bush, YOU don’t want him running the CIA.  : )

    Report this

    By Dave Karasic, May 10, 2006 at 4:34 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert, you totally kick butt!! Keep fighting the good fight!

    Report this

    By Steve Schultz, May 10, 2006 at 2:01 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    We are doomed as a world power and a beacon of any worth to the truly in need around this planet. John Quincy Bush seems to be able to sink to new depths with each new decision he is told to make. This First Factotem of ours has never had an original idea of his own in his silver spoon sucking life that benifitted anyone but himself. And more than 30% of the people polled feel that he is doing a good job. Dub is feeling around for the A-Bomb button in the dark of this despicable administration. That is a line Congress must not let him approach. And he is in line for a Presidential Library? More wasted taxpayer money ahead. What’s next? Laura running against Hil from New York? I keep thinking I will awaken from this nightmare, but so far I can only hope I am sound asleep.

    Report this

    By David Macaray, May 9, 2006 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Good article.  One thing I will give Bush credit for: he cured me of whining about politicians who don’t have the courage to make hard decisions, who are, more or less, gutless poll-chasers. Clinton comes to mind . . . Bill, that is.  But Bush is so astonishingly, jackass stubborn, I yearn for the good ol’ days!

    Report this

    By, May 9, 2006 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    truly scary stuff. will this national nightmare really last another two and a half years?

    Report this

    By Anthony, May 9, 2006 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Well another blow to freedom of ________ (you fill in the blank).
    And another step to world domination!

    Report this

    By Gunther T. Goat, May 9, 2006 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    All so true.  Excellent summation. As bad as Bush and his crew are, one has to ask “where is my congress person?”.  Why aren’t the members of Congress beating the drums? Are they just as corrupt?  Each one that is silent and that isn’t using his or her bully pulpit is equally guilty.  We didn’t elect them to be silent, though, as long as they are bringing home the pork, who cares if they are silent, eh?

    Report this

    By b, May 9, 2006 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This is pretty funny…nice writing.

    Report this
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