- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 1, 2006

New CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden yesterday drew 1,500 rank-and-file agency employees to the halls of the spy agency’s Langley headquarters for his second swearing-in this week, telling his co-workers in clipped military parlance, “Let’s just go to work.”

The Air Force general was officially sworn in Monday at the agency, but returned to the same site yesterday for a ceremonial swearing-in.

“He’s such a good man, we’re going to swear him in twice,” President Bush joked.

The president lavished praise on the general, who wore his blue Air Force uniform, four stars on each shoulder, for the ceremony.

“Mike is a patriot; he’s a reformer. He’s one of our nation’s finest intelligence professionals. I know firsthand how good this guy is,” Mr. Bush said. “He brings more than two decades of experience in the intelligence field. He is going to be a superb leader for the dedicated men and women of the CIA.”

For his part, Gen. Hayden told the president and the employees now working under him: “I could not be more grateful.”

The oath was given to Gen. Hayden by Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, who oversees more than a dozen spy operations, including those at the CIA.

Gen. Hayden, 61, was confirmed last week by the Senate by a vote of 78-15, even though Democrats initially questioned his past leadership at the National Security Agency, which oversaw a controversial domestic wiretap program. He replaces Porter J. Goss, a former congressman who resigned after 18 months as the agency’s director amid criticism that he had failed to push the agency into the 21st-century war against terror.

The president sought to reassure the rank-and-file at the CIA that their new boss was the right man for the job.

“America’s leaders are going to have the best possible intelligence, and Mike Hayden is going to work with you to see that that’s the case,” Mr. Bush said. “Mike understands the CIA must transform to confront new dangers and do so without slowing the high tempo at which it already operates. … In Mike Hayden, you have a leader who recognizes your talents, who understands your challenges and will ensure that you remain the finest intelligence agency in the world.”

After taking the oath for the second time, Gen. Hayden, the first active-duty military officer to head the spy agency since 1953, spoke briefly to the CIA staff.

“To my new friends and partners here at the Central Intelligence Agency, thank you for the warmth of your welcome over the last 24 hours. … Mr. President, thank you for the honor of placing your confidence in me, and for all of us here and around the world, thank you for the faith you have placed in this agency,” the general said.

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