WASHINGTON – Gen. Michael Hayden could have a new job as CIA director as soon as this week.
The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to vote on his nomination Tuesday afternoon, and the full Senate could approve him before its Memorial Day recess. The White House would like to have Hayden sworn-in as outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss leaves the job on Friday.
Hayden has the cautious support of Sen. Carl Levin, a key Democrat on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. "As of right now, I plan to vote for him," Levin, D-Mich., told WJR 760 AM in Detroit on Friday.
Hayden faced six hours of public questioning before the intelligence committee on Thursday, followed by a closed-door session lasting a couple hours. A handful of senators attended that classified portion.
Republicans praised President Bush's selection of Hayden, the former National Security Agency director who was promoted last year to be the nation's No. 2 intelligence official.
But Democrats publicly questioned Hayden's credibility and his aggressive defense of the Bush administration's controversial warrantless surveillance program, which monitors Americans' international calls when terrorism is suspected.