WALLACE: The big question today, of course, is who is going to be the new CIA chief, and the White House is putting out the word that the almost certain choice is going to be General Michael Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency and the top deputy now to the director of national intelligence, John Negraponte. One, do you think he’ll get the job? And two, is he the right man?
HOEKSTRA: Well, we’ll have to wait until the president makes an announcement. Obviously, that’s his call. I have a lot of respect for Hayden. I think he’s done a very good job in the positions that he’s had. He has a distinguished career. Bottom line, I believe he’s the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time. We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time.
WALLACE: Well, explain that. there have been, I think, a half dozen military people leading the CIA over the years. I guess most recently back in the carter administration, Admiral Stansfield Turner. So this is not unprecedented.
HOEKSTRA: It’s not unprecedented. It’s a bad time. There’s been a tremendous amount of tension between the CIA, department of defense, the intelligence community over the last 18 months. It was highlighted in the fact that when we did intelligence reform, the biggest opponent to doing intelligence reform was the Department of Defense. There’s ongoing tensions between this premier civilian intelligence agency and DOD as we speak. And I think putting a general in charge, regardless of how good Mike is, putting a general in charge is going to send the wrong signal through the agency here in Washington, but also to our agents in the field around the world.
WALLACE: Well, is it your feeling that as an active general that General Hayden would be under the sway of Don Rumsfeld?
HOEKSTRA: I think that clearly will be the perception in the CIA both I think here in Washington and again at the CIA. I don’t think you can underestimate the difficulty in rebuilding, reshaping and transforming the Central Intelligence Agency. This is the debate we don’t need at this time.
WALLACE: What about the possibility that has been raised? What if Mike Hayden were to resign his commission and step down as an active general?
HOEKSTRA: I think the perception is still going to be “” it’s going to be the wrong perception. There are talented folks who can take the agency where it needs to go. And they don’t “” and they don’t have to and they shouldn’t come from a military background.