Hayden Works to Absorb New Hires at CIA

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who will appear on C-SPAN's
CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who will appear on C-SPAN's "Q& A" tonight, says: "One-fifth of our analysts have been hired in the last 12 months." (By Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press)
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 15, 2007

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, after nearly a year as head of the nation's premier intelligence agency, says his biggest challenge is absorbing all the newly hired analysts and the case officers who have been hired since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Appearing on C-SPAN's "Q&A" to be broadcast tonight, Hayden emphasized the huge number of new hires generated by increased funding and turnover of CIA personnel. Although the employment figure is classified, senior intelligence officials say the number is about 15,000.

"Fifty percent of the agency has been hired since 9/11," Hayden said, adding: "One-fifth of our analysts have been hired in the last 12 months."

The movement can be traced to several causes. The 18-month tenure of former CIA director Porter J. Goss led to a large number of resignations, particularly in the middle and upper management ranks.

Another drain took place as trained agency analysts and operatives, possessing valuable security clearances, resigned to accept higher-paying jobs offered by companies who had won contracts to perform intelligence activities for the government.

The creation of new intelligence agencies within the government also drew CIA personnel, starting with the establishment of the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security, expansion of intelligence analysis at the FBI and Defense Department, and finally, the creation in 2005 of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"Right now, my biggest challenge is absorbing the growth we've had inside the agency and putting these new resources to work in an efficient and effective way," Hayden said.

Asked about CIA's incorrect prewar assessment about Saddam Hussein and his alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, Hayden presented what he described as a new lesson that was recently drawn from reviewing the situation.

"By and large, the assessment was done by our best WMD people, the people who handled weapons of mass destruction," he said. Those people focused on an initial assumption that the Iraqi leader had had these weapons, had lied about them and had used them, Hayden said.

When the problem was examined in 2002 for a new National Intelligence Estimate, Hayden said those looking back found that the first draft was "crafted by people who focused on weapons of mass destruction . . . not by our people who focused on Iraq as Iraq." One lesson learned, he said, was "when we do these kinds of things in the future, you have got to fold both of those things in together. . . . What does the acquisition of that dual-use chemical mean? You have to lash up the people who know how the Iraqi government makes decisions and who really makes decisions."


© 2007 The Washington Post Company