ANGLE: Unlike former CIA director George Tenet, [Sen. Carl] Levin [D-MI]
argued, as he accused Tenet of shaping, distorting and exaggerating pre-war
intelligence on Iraq to, as he put it, please the White House. In this hearing,
[CIA director nominee Gen. Michael V.] Hayden vigorously defended the NSA
programs to penetrate Al Qaeda communications, about which Levin continues
to raise questions, but the senator seemed to set those concerns aside because
Hayden had distanced himself from the Pentagon.
LEVIN: We saw some significant evidence of independence and objectivity in
General Hayden. For instance, he stood up to Secretary [of Defense Donald H.]
Rumsfeld when Secretary Rumsfeld wanted certain intelligence components to stay
with the Department of Defense.
ANGLE: He praised Hayden for that, noting a four-star general stood up to the
secretary of defense. The concern over an active duty officer keeping his
distance from the Pentagon also concerned Republican Senator Kit Bond [R-MO].
BOND: I, as many of you know, strongly supported him. I had questions
originally about his military background, but I believe he will be independent
and maintain the independence of the Central Intelligence Agency.
ANGLE: But three of seven Democrats on the committee, Russ Feingold [D-WI],
Evan Bayh [D-IN], and Ron Wyden [D-OR], voted against Hayden. Wyden said it was
because he didn't like the general's public explanations of what the NSA has
WYDEN: There were several instances where I simply could not resolve what the
general had said and then what later was brought out in newspapers like USA
ANGLE: USA Today recently reported an effort to collect a history
of phone call data using only numbers, no names and no listening to any
conversations. That is different from the one leaked last December, which
intercepts Al Qaeda communications from overseas. Wyden apparently expected
Hayden to make clear back then that intercepting overseas calls wasn't the only
NSA program in operation.
Doubts have been raised, though, about the accuracy of the USA Today