NSA director could be in line for CIA deputy director post
The Central Intelligence Agency has been rocked in recent weeks by changes brought by new director Porter Goss, and the shake-up could continue with the appointment of a tough deputy director.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Goss was considering naming National Security Agency Director Lt. Gen Michael Hayden to the agency's No. 2 slot. John McLaughlin, who served as acting CIA director this summer, recently announced his retirement from the deputy director post.
Hayden has been one of NSA's most visible, powerful and, in some quarters, controversial directors, as he has fought to reorganize the signals intelligence agency. If he were tapped for the CIA slot, he'd likely bring the same aggressive management style to the beleaguered agency.
Goss served as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence before being nominated for the CIA job in August. In that position, he conducted oversight of the NSA and worked closely with Hayden to increase the agency's budget.
Hayden, who is NSA's longest-serving director, has been relentless in pushing change at the intelligence agency since taking over in March 1999. He's asked longtime agency workers to retire to make way for new hires, outsourced information technology work, expanded the pool of contractors, raised the agency's profile, and consolidated leadership ranks.
Few would argue that changes were not needed at an agency with a veteran workforce trained and computer systems designed for the Cold War. James Bamford, author of two best-selling books on the NSA, credits Hayden with continuing to let veteran workers go even after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."The people they had were people they did not need," said Bamford, who noted that the agency had a surplus of Soviet analysts and linguists but too few Middle East experts.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Boyd, now head of Business Executives for National Security, who served with Hayden, said, "He sold needed reforms to those with oversight and resources. He's presided over a transition there from an institution geared toward the Cold War into one for a new world with different technology."
Some NSA veterans however, have protested Hayden's moves.
"Coming to a place and telling a large group of well-qualified professionals they need be cleaned out is not the way to change an agency," said Michael Lavin, who worked at the agency from 1947 to 1993, first as an analyst and later as a policymaker and spokesman. NSA veterans with obsolete skills should be retrained to prevent the loss of corporate memory, Lavin argued.
Hayden earned praise for his efforts to expand the NSA's contracting base and upgrade the agency's aging computer systems. In 2001, the agency inked a $2 billion outsourcing deal with an industry team, led by Computer Sciences Corp., to upgrade and run the agency's computer operations over the next 10 years.
Congress, however, has not been happy with how the agency tracked its spending. In 2004, the NSA lost its independent spending authority, and its budget is now managed by Defense undersecretaries.
Steven Aftergood, an intelligence expert with the Federation of American Scientists, noted that Hayden is one of the few intelligence managers to escape blame for Sept. 11. "Everyone has been down on the CIA," he said, "but NSA came through almost completely unscathed."