Tags: Gen. | Hayden | Moves | Unify | CIA

Gen. Hayden Moves to Unify CIA

Sunday, 24 September 2006 12:00 AM

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As the new director of the CIA, Gen. Michael V. Hayden is moving to unify the agency and centralize its command.

In an interview with NewsMax, Hayden said some of the directorates within the spy agency have their own command centers. Each directorate, whether its role is collecting human intelligence, employing technical means to gather intelligence, or analyzing intelligence, has its own culture. In some cases, policies are applied inconsistently by each directorate, he said.

Each directorate plays an important role and should remain separate, Hayden said, but they need to work together more. Hayden is establishing a corporate policy group that reports to him and will centralize some of the CIA's functions, he said.

The general is a warm, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of man, comfortable in his own skin. That skin has the healthy glow that comes from a regimen of running 15 to 20 miles a week. The command and breadth of Hayden's knowledge is encyclopedic, and he relishes talking about intelligence matters, but not secrets.

When asked about matters that might be classified, he clams up and conveys closed body language -- legs crossed and arms folded tightly across his chest. When troubled, he lowers his soft brown eyes and holds a hand to his balding head. He often makes a point by waving an empty water bottle -- probably some sort of runner's prerogative.

Hayden was sworn in as the director of the CIA on May 30. Before that, he was the first to serve as deputy director of national intelligence. He previously headed the National Security Agency (NSA).

Many in the intelligence community have viewed the creation of the position of director of national intelligence (DNI) over the CIA director as a move in the wrong direction, imposing a new layer of bureaucracy and insulating the CIA director from the president. Before the change, the director of central intelligence (DCI) briefed President Bush every morning, bringing questions back to the CIA. Now, John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, performs that function.

But Hayden said there are advantages to the new setup.

"In many ways, the creation of the DNI actually frees the director of the CIA to do some stuff," Hayden said. "My workday doesn't start at 10 [when the DCI would normally return from briefing the president]. My workday starts at 6:45 when I get in the car. My briefer's there, and I begin to go into the briefing, so that I'm done reading the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and other materials at 8. By 8:15 a.m., I'm ready to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Ambassador Negroponte's still downtown [briefing the president]."

Unlike previous directors, who had meetings at established times during the day, Hayden's day is flexible.

After 8:15 a.m., "I'm in receive mode," Hayden said. "No, that's not totally true, we just had the operations briefing here, when they updated me on ops activity. But I had picked up some things in the PDB, and I said, ‘You see that thing there? Here's what I want to do about that.' But in a broad sense, what's scheduled is for staff or others to report to me in the first couple of hours of the day. It's very flexible. And what happens after that depends on the day."

Porter Goss, the previous director, closeted himself in his office, and aides from his days on Capitol Hill communicated his wishes. But Hayden, like former DCI George Tenet, is a schmoozer. At a recent family day event at the agency, Hayden signed autographs, posed for pictures, and proudly introduced his grandchildren to employees. Hayden also likes to chat with employees in the CIA cafeteria.

"I try to show up in the cafeteria on a fairly routine basis," Hayden said. "Grab your tacos and your chips and your Coke and look for a table with an empty chair - not an empty table - sit down and say, ‘Hey, what do you guys do around here?' Goes a long way."

By way of supporting employees, Hayden has pushed Congress for clarity on what tactics CIA interrogators can employ. In a recent e-mail to employees, he said that if the language now agreed upon becomes law, Congress "will have given us the clarity and the support that we need to move forward with a detention and interrogation program that allows us to continue to defend the homeland, attack al-Qaida and protect American and allied lives."

The CIA has always struggled with the issue of centralization. Originally, the agency's directorates were so compartmented and insular that an analyst, without special permission, was not allowed to walk into areas where clandestine officers had their offices.

Now the agency has specialized centers like the Counterterrorism Center where spies and analysts, as well as scientists and engineers from the Directorate of Science and Technology, work together. Hayden said that while each specialty is rightfully separate, he wants more interaction.

As an example of the inconsistencies among different directorates, Hayden said, "When I got here, I was told that it had been decided that the agency was going to reimburse our new hires and other employees who had student loans. That was going to be part of their compensation package. However, the implementation of that decision was left to each of the heads of the directorates. They literally could choose whether they would do it or not. What's the sense of making an agency-wide policy and then devolve it down into the component parts?"

To some degree, it's good that each directorate has its own culture, Hayden said.

"Those clandestine service people, they're like fighter pilots in the Air Force," he said. "And you don't want the fighter pilots thinking that they're just like everyone else. I understand that. But you do want your fighter pilots recognizing they are part of a larger organization. They are airmen, they are part of the Air Force. Well, there's a little bit of that here, in that what we're trying to do is, first of all, establish a more dominant, more pervasive agency identity before our folks assume their more particularized identity within each directorate."

Hayden said he wants a culture that is "naturally more collaborative," a change that he intends to implement by extending the orientation process for new employees.

In Hayden's office, visitors are drawn to the framed American flag at one end of the room. Part of the flag's star field has been burned away. Gold fringe is missing, and there are holes in some of the white stripes. The general explains that the flag was pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center. A visible reminder during counterterrorist briefings, the flag is displayed in front of his conference table.

When visitors come, there is often a photo op just before they leave.

"We go down the end of the office," Hayden said. "We take a picture in front of that flag."


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Get Ronald Kessler's dispatches FREE sent to you via e-mail - As the new director of the CIA, Gen. Michael V. Hayden is moving to unify the agency and centralize its command. In an interview with NewsMax, Hayden said some of the directorates within the spy agency...
Sunday, 24 September 2006 12:00 AM
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