Former National Security Agency chief Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden is expected to face tough questioning Thursday during his confirmation hearings to run the Central Intelligence Agency. Kwame Holman reports on the political issues that will play out in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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Sixty-one-year-old Air Force General Michael Hayden is no stranger to the Senate Intelligence Committee, having testified there dozens of times during his six-year tenure as director of the National Security Agency and more recently in his current role as deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
But last week's USA Today report that the NSA, under Hayden's direction, built a database of millions of domestic telephone records has prompted some committee members from both parties to cast a skeptical eye at his nomination to be director of central intelligence.
Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel.
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), Nebraska: There's no question that his confirmation is going to depend upon the answers he gives regarding activities of NSA.
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), California: I think this is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden, and I think that is very regretted.
Hayden was nominated by President Bush to replace Porter Goss, who was forced from the CIA post after 19 tumultuous months marked by an exodus of top officials and reports of low morale. The general was making courtesy calls at the Capitol when the USA Today story broke, putting him on the defensive.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CIA Director-Designate:
Let me say once again, though, that everything that the agency has done has been lawful. It's been briefed to the appropriate members of Congress, that the only purpose of the agency's activities is to preserve the security and the liberty of the American people, and I think we've done that.