Hayden, director of NSA, named to deputy intelligence post

His broad experience will help Negroponte make reforms, experts say

February 18, 2005|By Robert Little | Robert Little,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

Seeming to pre-empt any doubts about the selection of a career diplomat to be the nation's first intelligence director, President Bush chose one of the most experienced and controversy-free intelligence executives in the United States yesterday to serve as deputy to the new post.

The appointment of Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, will deprive the Maryland-based eavesdropping and code-breaking agency of the longest-serving director in its 52-year history. But analysts and politicians say Hayden's appointment will also ensure that John Negroponte, whom Bush appointed as intelligence director, can proceed with his delicate mission of reorganizing the country's battered intelligence-gathering operations without apologies for his lack of spy-agency experience.

The long career of Hayden, 59, is not without its critics, particularly those who question the Air Force general's transformation of the super-secret NSA into a more open and community-minded operation. But during his six-year tenure atop the 32,000-employee spy agency, Hayden also has overseen unprecedented expansion and endured intense public and congressional scrutiny - and survived.

"Hayden represents the operational knowledge," said Robert J. Heibel, a former deputy chief of counter-terrorism at the FBI and now executive director of the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst College. "He understands the intelligence community, he's been through 9/11 and overseen significant increases in his budget, and he's shown an ability to adapt. These are all qualities that he's going to be called on to demonstrate again."

The new leadership of the NSA, based at Fort Meade, is unclear. A spokesman for Hayden released a statement saying he was honored to be appointed but that discussions about a successor or interim director at the NSA are premature. "All of this is subject to the confirmation process, and it would be presumptuous of him to say anything further until that process is complete," the statement said.

But the next director at the NSA will inherit an agency that is much different from the one Hayden took over in 1999. Once renowned for its "No Such Agency" level of secrecy, the NSA opened considerably under Hayden, who was the first director to give frequent speeches at public events. The agency also embarked on a prominent recruitment campaign and announced a willingness to let more private contractors work "inside the fence."

Not all of Hayden's initiatives were popular within the intelligence communities, particularly his efforts to get longtime veterans of the NSA to retire. But observers say his long tenure during an embattled period for intelligence operations is evidence of the regard that the nation's lawmakers and policymakers have for him.

President Bush, in announcing Hayden's appointment yesterday, said: "Mike has already demonstrated an ability to adapt our intelligence services to meet the new threats of a new century."

Hayden entered active duty with the Air Force in 1969 and served in intelligence-related positions throughout his career, for the Air Force, the Pentagon, the National Security Council and other posts. Long rumored to be a candidate for a deputy's position at the CIA, Hayden was almost universally praised on Capitol Hill yesterday.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called him "second to none." Maryland Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger issued a statement calling Hayden "a great leader with extensive vision and tremendous experience."

"He has a breadth of experience that will serve him," said retired Adm. Bobby R. Inman, a former NSA director and CIA deputy director. "But I'm particularly pleased to see someone who has worked at the juncture of national intelligence and tactical intelligence - someone who understands how intelligence is gathered and how it is translated into useful information."

Hayden bio

A look at President Bush's nominee to be deputy director of national intelligence:

Name: Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden

Age: 59

Birthdate: March 17, 1945

Education: Bachelor's degree in history, 1967, Duquesne University; master's in modern American history, 1969, Duquesne

Experience: 1999-present, director of the National Security Agency; 1996-1997, commander, Air Intelligence Agency, and director, Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, Kelly Air Force Base; 1995, special assistant to the commander, Headquarters Air Intelligence Agency, Kelly Air Force Base; 1993-1995, director, Intelligence Directorate, Headquarters U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany; 1991-1993, chief, Secretary of the Air Force Staff Group, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

Family: Wife, Jeanine; three children.

Associated Press

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