President Bush names Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to replace Porter Goss as director of the CIA, touching off what may be a tough confirmation battle. Several members of Congress have criticized a controversial eavesdropping program that Hayden ran as director of the National Security Agency.
Republican senators who will vote on Hayden's confirmation were upbeat about the president's choice. Majority Leader Bill Frist issued a statement calling Hayden a very qualified nominee; Frist added that he looked forward to a prompt confirmation by the Senate. In an interview, Texas Republican John Cornyn said Democrats would likely continue to bring up Hayden's ties to the NSA surveillance program.
A date for the Senate's Intelligence Committee hearings on Hayden's nomination has yet to be announced.
But committe member Sen. Russ Feingold, who called for a Congressional censure of President Bush for the warrantless eavesdropping program, said that he would look closely at Hayden's nomination. "I know that he wasn't the top man" in the eavesdropping program, Feingold said. "But the fact is he has stood with the president and others in claiming that somehow the president has inherent authority to do this."
NPR Coverage of President Bush's Announcement