Friday, May 26, 2006

Hayden Gets Confirmed

Gen. Michael Hayden was confirmed as the 20th CIA director today. The Senate approved Hayden by a vote of 78-15.

Meanwhile, Sen. Arlen Specter getting dramatic:

Breaking with the White House, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter voted against the four-star general. The Pennsylvania Republican said he was protesting the administration's failure to inform Congress of intelligence operations, particularly its warrantless surveillance program.

"I have no quarrel with General Hayden," Specter said on the Senate floor.

I don't really understand the point of this kind of manuevering. First of all, there has been a great deal of work done in justifying the NSA's warrantless surveillance program, so there shouldn't really be a need for more clarification in the legal sense. Second, there are reasons why the Senate was not told of certain aspects of the NSA program, namely that many of the details were sensitive to national security.

It has never and will never be the duty of the Senate to pretend it is the military. There are always things that the Senate will be kept in the dark on, because it is simply not their job to know certain things. This feels like only the latest in a series of "we are privileged" stunts by members of congress (like the recent uproar in Congress over FBI searches thanks to the Jefferson incident). Sen. Specter needs to stop grandstanding and focus on doing his job; voting with the majority of which he is a part may also be nice.