The Senate has confirmed Gen. Michael Hayden as the new Director of Central Intelligence:
WASHINGTON – After hearing assurances he will be independent of the Pentagon, the Senate on Friday easily confirmed Gen. Michael Hayden, a career Air Force man, to head the CIA.
Hayden, a four-star general, currently is the top deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
Hayden, 61, would be the first active-duty or retired military officer to run the spy agency in 25 years. He was approved by a vote of 78-15.
President Bush, in a written statement, applauded Hayden’s confirmation.
“Winning the war on terror requires that America have the best intelligence possible, and his strong leadership will ensure that we do,” he said. “Gen. Hayden is a patriot and a dedicated public servant whose broad experience, dedication and expertise make him the right person to lead the CIA at this critical time.”
At his confirmation hearing, Hayden sought to assure lawmakers he would be independent from his military superiors but said he would consider how his uniform affects his relationship with CIA personnel. If it were to get in the way, he said, “I’ll make the right decision.”
After all the hand-wringing that went on following his appointment doesn’t this seem a little anti-climactic?
I see that all of the prospective Democratic nominees for president in 2008 with the exception of Joe Biden voted against Hayden’s confirmation. A sop to the activist base? Joe Biden thinking like a president? Make of it what you will.
UPDATE In From the Cold observes:
You may recall that some politicians and pundits expected an “uphill” battle for Hayden’s confirmation, predicting “tough” questions about the the general’s tenure as NSA director and the surveillance programs he oversaw. In the end, those battles never really materialized. Opposition to Hayden quickly melted away, leaving only the Senate’s hard-core left to oppose him.
Yes, I thought it was surprising there was so little actual to-do.