Has the White House Lost Its Collective Mind?
Drudge reports that several names have been offered for the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI) position which we got courtesy of the 9/11 Commission. Without going into it in detail, neither the 9/11 Commission nor its report are anything for which Liberty Files has any serious regard. As with any commission of this type, we get recommendations for more government, another cabinet position, and bunches of other junk that really don't fix the problem but really look good on paper. More on that later.
For now, several names have been offered for this new post, and here they are:
DCI Porter Goss
Gov Tom Kean
General Michael Hayden
Sen. Joe Lieberman
Rep Pete Hoekstra
Rep Jane Harman
And so I ask...has the Bush Administration lost its mind? Some of these people are great, so my title to this post is a little hyperbolic, but a few of these names make you wonder.
Porter Goss would be great, but removing him from CIA means that the CIA remains as is. There will be no incentive to change the rather addled culture at Langley. If CIA isn't fixed, we're in danger. Goss is needed there.
Tom Kean is useless. His background is not in intelligence, but rather in education. He was Governor of New Jersey, a state with one of the most entrenched and corrupt political systems around. He left Jim Florio a growing mess, which Florio made worse. Leaving us with Christie Whitman who did little and Jim McGreevy...who did much, by his own admission. As chair of the 9/11 Commission, he failed to rein in the commission members or even himself from daily talk show appearances to prattle on about the commission's work. It was a show. It was unprofessional. It was about the Commission members rather than their work. As a result, we got a report which was designed to insult as few people as possible to enhance its own influence, as opposed to a product that, while unpleasant, could be a real tool for change (again, more on what I would have suggested later). We don't need another 9/11 Commission member running the show.
Gen Michael Hayden...sign him up. This is the guy who needs to be in the job. This Air Force General is the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and has an entire career history in intelligence gathering and analysis. He knows the military's need for intelligence and won't skimp on their concerns. He could do it blind. Consider nobody else.
John Lehman is a bright guy. Former Navy Secretary under Reagan from 1981-1987. This is the guy that formulated the "forward strategy" to build up a 600 ship Navy, and choke off the Soviets in the Arctic Ocean by denying them passage through the North Sea or past Greenland, Iceland, or Scotland. It was a highly controversial (meaning, effective) plan. His only problem is the 9/11 Commission membership. Nobody's perfect though. Still a decent choice.
Joe Lieberman is loved by Liberty Files, but he's not all he's cracked up to be. Good guy whose wife can be probably assured is trustworthy. He is an accomplished Senator, with Armed Service Committee credentials. And despite trimming his moral sails behind Al Gore in 2000, he parted company with the former Vice President from UC Berkeley on soldiers' absentee votes, and generally wouldn't put up with the outrageous stuff. When it came down to it, Joe really did choose decency over politics. But that's it. Great guy, belongs in the Senate as a career politician, not a career intelligence guy. Bad choice for an intelligence chief.
Peter Hoekstra is a good guy. He has his own intelligence credentials, but they aren't too much different than those of Lieberman. He is a businessman though, and can really make a difference in that regard, if he actually manages the intelligence machine properly. Neat choice, but not in a time of war.
And when you see a name like Jane Harman, you wonder if a forgotten stash from the Clinton Administration hidden in the air ducts came unwrapped. She's a noisy mainstream California liberal Congresswoman. She's on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, but so is Rep. Anna Eshoo...who, you ask, is that? Gesundheit! Bush likes cabinet secretaries who are loyal. Not a chance here. Unless, of course, Bush means this position to be a feckless office with no actual function. If that's the case, I wholeheartedly recommend her.
In any case, the Administration need not look for a pretty face or a politically correct appointment. It needs an operator if this office is to have any real meaning. They've named some stars...and some not so stellar. Given that they've chosen to live with the 9/11 Commission national security scheme, it may want to choose to have someone who will go to work and improve our intelligence gathering and distribution. To do anything different would make intelligent people wonder if the President wanted the security bill as little more than a political act. And that would be a shame.