Bush Crony Could Decide Fate of CIA IG

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If CIA Director Michael Hayden wants to get rid of meddlesome Inspector General John Helgerson, he can’t do it directly, since Helgerson is a presidential appointee. That’s a first for Hayden: as POGO’s Nick Schwellenbach and Beverly Lumpkin observe, when he was head of NSA from 1999 to 2005, the agency IG was under the general’s thumb. But that’s not to say that Hayden doesn’t have options. The New York Times explains:

Under federal procedures, agency heads who are unhappy with the conduct of their inspectors general have at least two places to file complaints. One is the Integrity Committee of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which oversees all the inspectors general. The aggrieved agency head can also go directly to the White House.

If serious accusations against an inspector general are sustained by evidence, the president can dismiss him.

Now, let’s say that going directly to the White House isn’t subtle enough for someone as savvy as Hayden. Not to worry! Going to the Council on Integrity and Efficiency is likely to provide the same outcome. The Integrity Committee is chaired by an FBI official named Kenneth Kaiser, who appears to be a perfectly competent individual. But his boss, the chairman of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, is George W. Bush’s prep school buddy Clay Johnson III, a man whose name is practically synonymous with Bush administration cronyism.Before becoming deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Johnson was the White House’s personnel director, responsible for vetting such paragons of professionalism as Mike Brown and David Safavian. (Safavian he hired personally.) A month after Hurricane Katrina, Johnson said Brown “served unbelievably well for two years as the head of FEMA.” There was no need to review the White House’s hiring process, he opined, since the “appointments work done by this president is as fine as has ever been done.” That statement might be explained by the fact that Johnson actually keeps a George W. Bush doll on his desk. For reasons that remain apocryphal, he is known to have spanked Bush’s dog, Barney.

Johnson is such a cipher that when his name was floated to become Homeland Security Secretary this summer, even Michelle Malkin called him a crony on the August 27 edition of the “O’Reilly Factor.” (via Nexis)

If Helgerson’s job goes up to the PCIE for review, he’s done for. No wonder that even an intelligence official who applauds Hayden’s anti-Helgerson push thinks that an external review of the agency’s inspector general would “blow things way out of proportion.”