Sunday, May 14, 2006


Ron Wyden on General Hayden: Vague

Ron Wyden has won a rep as a liberal. He also has a rep as a sort of well-speaking weasel. I got a long letter from him a few months ago: I’d written him that I was appalled by the photos of tortured prisoners and other news stories. He promised he’d do everything he could to make sure the US didn’t do that sort of thing. Since then, of course, the revelations of torture coming on direct orders have got louder and more frequent. The reported incidents of actual torture have gone up. Britain wants us to close Guantanamo; the UN wants us to close it. Amnesty International is outraged. Wyden is very measured in his responses; he responds by millimeters, whenever possible.

As a result, I think Ron is going to wait to see which way the wind is blowing on Hayden. That the general is a creep is obvious. He’s also a toady. And incompetent. And dumb. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Wyden OKs him.

Wyden says he hasn't made up his mind on CIA nominee
5/12/2006, 5:12 p.m. PT
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Ron Wyden met Friday with President Bush's choice to head the CIA, but said he has not made up his mind whether to support the nomination.

Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden met for nearly an hour with Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Hayden left the meeting without taking questions. Wyden, D-Ore., said the men had a "long back-and-forth" but "did not reach a meeting of minds" on several key issues, including Hayden's credibility.

"The next head of the CIA is going to have an enormous set of challenges ... and credibility is going to be absolutely key to bringing about what is essential for our country," Wyden said. "I happen to believe that it's possible to fight terrorism relentlessly" without breaking U.S. laws.

Earlier Friday, Hayden defended the secret surveillance programs he oversaw at the National Security Agency director as lawful, but declined to comment on news reports that the NSA has secretly collected phone call records of tens of millions of Americans.

Wyden said the two men talked about the NSA program in some detail, but said many questions remain unresolved.

Wyden said he was concerned that he and other lawmakers learned about the phone-calls database from an article in USA Today.

"I want to emphasize the Senate is essentially in the dark on this program," he said.

"I can't get to the bottom of it, because all I have is a newspaper report, and I guess at this point I only sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee so I get a good part of this from the newspapers," Wyden said.

Wyden criticized the Bush administration, which for months has maintained that warrantless surveillance was being done on suspected terrorists and on calls to or from other countries.

"I think the American people want to know that when they are told about how a program works," that officials are telling the truth, Wyden said.

Wyden said he has not decided whether to support or oppose Hayden's nomination.

"The issues that I have go to the general's credibility. He is obviously technically qualified, has an enormous amount of knowledge about the profession but I think given the challenges that the CIA faces, credibility is absolutely key," Wyden said.


Associated Press Writer Elizabeth White contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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