"It's not about saving face, it's about saving the nation."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today questioned the Bush Administration's nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, on his ability to maintain the CIA's independence within the intelligence community.
"Given the pressures of being at the CIA, how will you retain an independent voice? I'm concerned about what I have seen from the history of when one goes to the CIA - they go from being a reformer to being a cheerleader for the agency," said Senator Mikulski. "I've known you since 1999, and I've known you as a candid reformer. Are you still the candid reformer or have you moved to cheerleader?"
Senator Mikulski questioned past CIA leadership and insisted that the hearings, both open and closed, answer important questions.
"I've watched in the last two administrations what happens to our directors of CIA. I go back to the Clinton years - we had the revolving door with the fiasco of [James] Woolsey and the disaster of [John] Deutsche," said Senator Mikulski. "Then in comes George Tenet, who we thought had it together. Then we get Porter Goss, who I think brought in partisan hacks and nearly destroyed the agency."
"It's not about saving face, it's about saving the nation," continued Senator Mikulski. "So to all who are watching this on C-SPAN, including the bad guys, we want them to know we want to get it right so that the next director of the CIA is the best we have to offer to be able to protect the nation."
Senator Mikulski told General Hayden that her vote, both in committee and on the Senate floor, would be based on the five criteria she uses to evaluate all executive branch nominees: competence, integrity, commitment to the Constitution, commitment to the core mission of the department, and independence.
To hear and/or broadcast Senator Mikulski's full remarks from today, please call (800) 511-0763 and, when prompted, enter actuality number 7670 or download a high-quality mp3 at: http://demradio.senate.gov/actualities/mikulski/mikulski060518_hayden_hearing.mp3
The opinions expressed in this article represent the views of Senator Barbara Mikulski, or the specific person or organization that is quoted. Senator Mikulski is one of two federal senators for the state of Maryland. She is classified as a Class III Senator. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class-approximately one-third of the Senators-face election or reelection. Terms for Senators in Class I expire in 2007, Class II in 2009, and Class III in 2011.
Ms. Mikulski's website is located at http://mikulski.senate.gov/. Her office can be reached at (202) 224-4654. More biographical info on Ms. Mikulski can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Mikulski.