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Hayden: Durbin, Obama, vote no on CIA chief. 11th CD Dem House candidate John Pavich, a former CIA operative, says Hayden ``has respect of professionals.''

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In the far south suburban 11th district, former CIA officer John Pavich is the Democratic nominee running against Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Illl.).

Pavich release on Hayden.............

For Immediate Release, May 25th, 2006

Nominee has respect of professionals, but checks and balances essential

BEECHER—Former CIA intelligence officer John Pavich, an attorney and congressional candidate for the eleventh district of Illinois, issued a statement welcoming General Hayden’s confirmation as the new CIA director, but insisted that “congress needs to insure that future oversight is not thwarted by the current administration which has repeatedly misled the public about use of torture, domestic surveillance and efforts to skew intelligence findings to justify military intervention in Iraq.��?

“General Hayden has the experience and ability to restore the effectiveness and professional pride of the CIA, if not its former status as the pre-eminent US intelligence agency,��? says Pavich, who has participated in counter-terrorist operations for the agency. “In particular, I agree with his statement that ‘the agency must be reformed without slowing the high tempo under which it already operates to counter today’s threats.’ General Hayden’s stated intention to rehire Steve Kappes as Assistant Director will be welcomed by CIA professionals, who like myself, were deeply concerned that the agency was being politicized under the former director.��?

Pavich, who received five citations for his work with the CIA, says that he is “encouraged��? that the General Hayden explicitly stated that the agency will abide by the Detainee Treatment Act of 1995, the Geneva Conventions and other treaties the US is a party to, that prohibit torture. He added that Congress must insure that these commitments are honored along with General Hayden’s promise that countries that receive terrorist suspects will stipulate that torture will not be employed. This should preclude sending suspects to Egypt and other countries that are human rights abusers.

Pavich says, however, he is concerned that General Hayden acknowledged at last week’s hearings that as former Director of the NSA, he did not read the Justice Department legal opinion before initiating the surveillance program which monitored domestic calls to foreign locations. Instead, Hayden relied on NSA attorneys he respected. When Senator Dianne Feinstein asked him to provide this opinion and that of the White House legal counsel, Hayden did not promise to do so.

“Quite frankly, I think the General should have read the Justice Department opinion himself before initiating the program,��? Pavich said. “I think that the congress also needs to know what guidance the administration is providing, particularly in the light of various memos from Attorney General Gonzales and other administration figures which would strip judicial review of administration actions.��?
Pavich also repeated his call for the General to retire his military post as he takes the helm of the CIA. “General Hayden is rightfully proud of his military career and has said that if being an active duty officer gets in the way of his relationship with the CIA workforce, he will make the ‘right decision,’��? Pavich said, adding: “Based on discussions with colleagues in the intelligence community and a former General who was Commander of Centcom, I believe that the right decision would be to leave his military post now-- before he takes the reins of the agency. I can say there is definitely a concern by current and former CIA employees about the institutional influence of the Department of Defense, despite General Hayden’s own reputation for independence.��?

“In light of past efforts to conceal agency failures and unlawful activities, I believe that congressional oversight must be strengthened. Senator Olympia Snowe makes it clear that the groundrules for “one way��? briefings for congressional leaders (“gang of eight��?) did not permit these leaders adequate opportunity to discuss serious concerns with other intelligence members or staff. Congressional leaders were denied the ability to perform their constitutional role to provide a check on the executive branch at a time when crucial decisions that affect our lives and our country’s future were taking place. It should not have taken four years for the full committee to be briefed on these urgent matters.��?

“As someone who served as part of the Clandestine Services, I know it is a matter of life and death to protect intelligence operations. The fact is, however, with reasonable safeguards, we can protect our security without sacrificing our constitutional liberties. Much of the secrecy and over-classification of information is the result of the bureaucratic tendency to hide mistakes and this administration’s use of fear to strengthen the executive branch at the expense of Congress and the courts.

Congresssional oversight of intelligence operations is crucial to provide the necessary balance between our safety and our liberty,��? Pavich concluded.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 26, 2006 11:15 AM.

Rayburn House Office Building in Lockdown. UPDATE: ALL CLEAR. Investigating reports of gunfire.UPDATE 1, 2. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Column: Obama backers talking up 2008. Cranks up political operation. UPDATE1 $1 million political cash on hand. UPDATE2 Obama meets with British PM Blair is the next entry in this blog.

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