Hayden Following Powell Model at CIA?

The Wall Street Journal editors are worried that Michael Hayden will go too far in his efforts to soothe over the tensions created by Porter Goss’ sometimes reckless attempt to shake up the CIA.

A top intelligence service is vital to national security. So we’ve been looking for signs that incoming CIA Director Michael Hayden would lead the agency in the right direction. But so far the Air Force General, who won confirmation Friday in an unexpectedly lopsided 78-to-15 Senate vote, has sent more signals that would soothe the souls of Langley’s uncounted career bureaucrats than push the cause of reform.

We’re reminded of Colin Powell’s inaugural promise on taking over the State Department to “put our Foreign Service officers in charge of the work of the department.” Is his unhappy result what the general now in charge of the CIA has in mind?


We understand the General’s desire not to undermine morale at the agency he’s about to lead. But neither did he have to validate a good deal of the political left’s current, if amusingly ironic, defense of the CIA’s career spooks: the idea that policy makers should only rarely question the careerists’ judgment, and that the careerists’ assumptions shouldn’t be challenged by new blood from the outside.

The irony of using Colin Powell here as an example of how not to treat career bureaucrats is that Powell’s spooks, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), have arguably done the best job of analysis in recent years.

Still, balancing the natural tension between defering too much to the bureaucratic experts on the one hand and throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater on the other is incredibly difficult. Career employees at professional agencies like State, Defense, and the Intelligence Community (which overlaps the first two) both know more about their subject matter than virtually all political appointees and yet are often mired in an organizational culture mindset that creates flawed analysis.

There is, for example, legitimate concern that Don Rumsfeld has gone too far in shaking up the Defense Department culture and ignoring the sound advice of generals who are brilliant and have devoted thirty years or more to their trade. It is also true that these same experts have allowed fifteen years to go by without fixing the military’s obvious inadequacy in transporation infrastructure, Active-Reserve mix problems, and undersupply of linguists, civil affairs, and military police personnel. We will likely never truly know whether Rumsfeld has overcorrected or perhaps been too ginger in his reform efforts.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Hayden’s seat isn’t even warm in his CIA office and the idiots at the WSJ’s Editorial Desk are monday morning quarterbacking. Cut the guy some slack, will ya?

  2. Suased says:

    It’s not the ‘careerist’ who have alot to offer. The first priority is the pay check, the pension, and the union. The career is based on this. Hayden knows, just like Goss, that he cannot make effective change there. Plame is a perfect example of why effective change is not possible. Goss quitting and ‘low moral at the agency’ are old games the CIA plays when it may loose; the pay check, the pension or the union.

    Political appointees like Hayden feel they have to be loyal to the US government and employees. It’s a compromise, especially when dealing with an ineffective agency like CIA. It has come down to keeping the job and any Federal employee, especially union, will agree that democrats are preferred here. So, why isn’t the CIA abolished? Congress tried and it was simply stopped. The CIA is too powerful and after the retirement party, the employee expects a political career like Bush senior. They are not what we expected, the best in the world, and are, in fact, detrimental to the US.

    Rumsfeld may or may not have something to do with the hiring of the CIA analysts at NSA/DIA, but either way its obvious that Hayden knew they were moving to NSA/DIA and this was done to keep the federal employees and their union happy. The real answer was a layoff. So, we see Hayden and Bush compromising again to keep CIA employees working. They are not worth the money and, in fact, cost the country too much.

    Hayden’s organizational mindset hopefully will not produce flawed intelligence, like the WMD issue at CIA. The plan for these type of flaws is too dangerous as we saw CIA ‘sell out’ WMD policy and training at CIA while providing Bush with ‘bad’ information’ intending to protest this type of intelligence later. The flaw is something the CIA employees will take advantage of to further their own agenda and manitain the check, the pension, and the union.

  3. DC Loser says:

    Hate to tell you this, but the CIA is totally non-union.

  4. Suased says:

    Well, we’ll stick with the paychecks and the pension, then. Okay, Hayden did’nt plan the integration of the CIA ananlysts at NSA/DIA before he was hired and it does not reflect itself in the new military intelligence computer platform.

    Must say, did’nt check my map………

  5. DC Loser says:

    Hayden didâ??nt plan the integration of the CIA ananlysts at NSA/DIA before he was hired and it does not reflect itself in the new military intelligence computer platform.

    Please enlighten me as to what you are referring to here? What new MI computer system? I’m interested to hear this as I have some interest in this area.

  6. Another possibility is that given he is taking over from a guy who hit the hornets nest, is that he is going to make public statements to quiet the hornets. Let’s see some substantive actions (or in action as the case may be) on specific issues before deciding what he is going to do.

    This reminds me a bit of the Kremlinologist who would weave great fancies of soviet intentions based on who was standing next to who and which direction they turned their head to cough.

  7. Saused says:

    District O’ Columbia,

    Try looking up Terror Unveiled. She and friend supposedly went to the DOD conference in PA. There are alot of systems existing and coming on line which seem to indicate a real time total intelligence awareness computer and system. It is going to DIA(Sun Microsystems) and seems to work well with a CIA analyst or, even, an operations officer(CIA) in the field giving and getting real time total intelligence awareness.

    The DOD sales party included the Director of DIA and Goss’ parties got leaked right around the same time, along with discusions Americans were having over the NSA programs that the CIA complained about during their undercover work on domestic political organizatins like the 501s Congress investigated.

    I have’nt checked the map here, so have fun!

  8. Tano says:

    “… to soothe over the tensions created by Porter Gossâ?? sometimes wreckless attempt to shake up the CIA.”

    “wreckless attempt to shake up the CIA”???

    Seems to me that his attempt was pretty reckless, but not at all “wreck-less”.

  9. DC Loser says:

    Saused, you lost me there. You got a name for this thing? Is this part of DODIIS? What system will it operate on? So far from your description it sounds like a lot of names being thrown around with no substance.

  10. DC Loser says:

    If you’re referring to that reference about DJIOCs, well, all I can say is that it’s way off the mark. As far as Sun having anything coming online at DIA, all I can say is, LOLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    CIA agents disloyal to the sitting government should be fired. They are not suppose to leak information to the press, or anyone else. Plame is a prime example. She offered forth he husband, the liar, Joe Wilson to reseach “the crazy idea” that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium in Africa. Wilson goes to one African country, comes back and says it didn’t happen, except the Senate found that not to be true, judging by the liar Wilson’s own report. Since both Plame and Wilson supported Kerry in the 2004 election, one can only guess at their motivation for lying or trying to influence information as to what was found out. If you work for the CIA, leave your politics at home.

  12. Saused says:

    DC, it’s all there on the internet.

    Terror Unvieled has nuts now.

    Check map more.

  13. DC Loser says:

    Okay, I did run across some information that sheds some light on what Saused was saying. It only goes to show a little knowledge, out of context, is a dangerous thing. If you don’t know what DoDIIS is, it’s understandable to think something sinister is going on. All that is related to the DoD portion of the intelligence community’s classified computer network backbone. It’s what the IC uses to do work and communicate with each other. Do a google for dodiis. I was wrong about DIA not getting anything from Sun. Apparently Sun is the primary vendor for a new terminal, called the DoDIIS Trusted Work Station (again, google for DoDIIS trusted work station for more info). It’s just being introduced to some portions of the community, parts of DIA being one of the first. IMHO, it’s a work in progress and doesn’t work very well. Maybe it will be better as time goes on It’s just a newer workstation that was supposed to combine all the different level of classified systems that DoD IC uses into one platform. Sounds like a great idea. However, the execution does leave somethings to be desired. Again, nothing sinister.

  14. McGehee says:

    DC, it�s all there on the internet.

    Well, I’m convinced! God knows I’ve never seen anything on the Internet that wasn’t true!

  15. Suased says:


    There is another system being sold other than SUN. SUN was very popular. The levels of access may be based on where someone is or what they are doing, rather than ‘rank’ to access ALL classfied levels and systems that DOD uses. That is a big change considering CIA analysts are going to DIA and the operations officers at CIA can still run around doing the coups in America they were so well trained to do……………………….but, anyway what you may have missed is USAID is ALSO ‘coming out’ in ‘a’ new platform, but seperate because they really are’nt CIA(perhaps just the money from CIA) and, supposedly Al Quaeda has someting to do with the original CIA computer name and, now, are we going to see this at USAID?……………….still not sure….may be a link here…….anyway………..It’s a laptop party!

  16. Sed says:

    Sun Microsystems to cut up to 5,000 jobs By DAN GOODIN, AP Technology Writer
    51 minutes ago

    So, backbone SUN because they would’nt worry about the other computer platform(what most missed about the conference-the thinking is SUN was a ‘sell’) that hooks into the backbone, possibly SUN-there would be less worry about the conference or, like the phone company(depending if NSA uses the DIA the same company backbone as the phone company)there is then voip.

    ‘Inherent in all forms of VoIP is revolutionary change, whereby much of the existing telephony infrastructure will be replaced by novel IP-based mechanisms'(http://www.rad.com/Article/0,6583,13878,00.html),’

    which may or may not run on the telephone company backbone, either the same company providing the backbone or not at DIA, voip may have its own backbone within the internet(2) free of the current internet.

  17. DC Loser says:

    Pal, believe whatever you want. Have a nice life.

  18. Suased says:

    ‘Great fancies of Soviet intentions’