It was Washington’s worst-kept secret.The US president has nominated Air Force General Michael Hayden as the new chief of the CIA.
The move sets up a likely battle with some members of Congress over having a military man head the civilian spy agency. But George W. Bush defended his choice. “He has overseen the development of both human and technological intelligence,” he said of Hayden. “He has demonstrated an ability to adapt our intelligence services to the newchallenges of the war on terror. “He is the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation’s history.” Critics, including from within the president’s own Republican party, fear a general heading the CIA could give the Pentagon too much sway over US intelligence. There is also concern about the deputy national intelligence director’s role in a controversial domestic spying programme after the September 11 attacks. If confirmed by the US Senate, the general would replace CIA Director Porter Goss who resigned on Friday, after less than two years in the job. The White House has denied press reports that the president had lost confidence in him.