General Hayden's Past Trips Through The Revolving DoorEdit
Like all hard workers, General Hayden has had many opportunities to gain experience and knowledge at many different government departments and make many contacts for his future employment in private industry.
One for which he earned this awesome CIA gig, was his job with the National Security Agency, where he used his P.R. skillz to forever alter the NSA's reputation from a shadowy, quasi-legal outfit to a group essential to America's fight against terror, since 9-11.
General Hayden's Big Plans for the CIAEdit
General Hayden said it was essential for the C.I.A., an organization built on a bedrock of secrecy, to be as open as possible in order to build public trust and dispel myths surrounding its operations. The more that the agency can tell the public, he said, the less chance that misinformation among the public will “fill the vacuum.”
C.I.A. Chief Tries Preaching a Culture of More Openness, The New York Times, nytimes.com, Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
June 23, 2007, By MARK MAZZETTI
WASHINGTON, June 22 — William E. Colby faced an uneasy decision in late 1973 when he took over the Central Intelligence Agency: whether to make public the agency’s internal accounting, then being compiled, of its domestic spying, assassination plots and other misdeeds since its founding nearly three decades earlier.
Mr. Colby decided to keep the so-called family jewels a secret, and wrote in his memoir in 1978 that he believed the agency’s already sullied reputation, including a link to the Watergate scandal, could not have withstood a public airing of all its dirty laundry.
So why, at a time when the agency has again been besieged by criticism, this time for its program of secret detentions and interrogations since the Sept. 11 attacks, would the current director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, decide to declassify the same documents that Mr. Colby chose to keep secret?
In an appearance Thursday where he announced that the “family jewels” would be released next week, General Hayden said it was essential for the C.I.A., an organization built on a bedrock of secrecy, to be as open as possible in order to build public trust and dispel myths surrounding its operations. The more that the agency can tell the public, he said, the less chance that misinformation among the public will “fill the vacuum.”
It was this outlook that General Hayden, whose public relations skills are well known in Washington, brought to an earlier job. There, as director of the National Security Agency, he tried to overhaul the N.S.A.’s public image — that of the shadowy, menacing organization portrayed in the movie “Enemy of the State” — by inviting reporters to briefings and authorizing its officials to speak to the author James Bamford for his book on the agency, “Body of Secrets.”
Is next week’s release of documents a reflection of similar openness that he has now brought to the C.I.A., where he arrived little more than a year ago? Yes, says Mark Mansfield, agency spokesman, who adds that since last October the agency has cut by more than half the number of unresolved Freedom of Information Act petitions dating back five years or more, by systematically declassifying volumes of historical material.
Mr. Bamford said one cynical interpretation of the move to declassify the family jewels could be that the agency was looking to make the operations for which it has most recently been criticized seem less nefarious by contrasting them with what went on in the old days. But John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy director of central intelligence, said he saw no motive other than a genuine desire by General Hayden to deal head on with a fundamental tension: the C.I.A. is a secret organization operating in an open society.
Mr. Bamford gives General Hayden credit for being more committed to openness than some of his predecessors. But he is quick to point out that by law, all classified material must eventually be declassified, warts and all.
“If somebody obeys the law, you shouldn’t get a medal for it,” he said. “It’s part of his job.”
Still, pushing for greater openness — “transparency,” in Washington jargon — can be a treacherous path. Mr. Colby, who later in his tenure began a campaign to declassify many of the C.I.A.’s secrets, became an unpopular figure within the agency’s ranks. Many there believed that he, along with some successors who made similar efforts, were conducting little more than publicity campaigns in a rush to reveal the darkest secrets of the past.
General Hayden’s decision to declassify the family jewels now has been greeted negatively by some C.I.A. veterans, who say it could be a blow to the morale of a proud organization afflicted by turmoil during the last five years.
“C.I.A. officers, especially the young officers, want to belong to an organization that has a history and tradition they can look up to,” said one recently retired veteran, who insisted on anonymity because he had been an undercover officer. “If you put something out that says the founders of the agency were a bunch of criminals, that doesn’t exactly help.”