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.
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
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."
Hayden, who headed
the National Security Agency for several years, became
a lightning rod for the debate about the Bush administration's
domestic eavesdropping program. Some Democrats and
civil-liberties advocates argue the monitoring was
As head of the NSA
from 1999 to 2005, Hayden oversaw the program. His
defenders say he was relying on the advice of top
The White House hurried
Hayden's nomination through in only 17 days, in part
by heeding Congress' 5-month-old requests for more
information on the classified operations.
During Thursday night's
debate, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said the warrentless
wiretapping program raised "serious questions
about whether the general is the right person to lead
the CIA, serious questions about whether the general
will continue to be an administration cheerleader,
serious questions about his credibility."
Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, countered
that Hayden "is eminently qualified" to
lead the agency and that "he is the right choice
to lead the CIA."
2006 The Associated Press.