By an overwhelming, 78-15 vote, the Senate has confirmed General Mike Hayden as the next CIA director. In this space a few weeks ago, we predicted that Hayden's confirmation hearings might well become a tour-de-force, with the Air Force general easily demonstrating his command of intelligence issues, and his qualifications to run the CIA.
You may recall that some politicians and pundits expected an "uphill" battle for Hayden's confirmation, predicting "tough" questions about the the general's tenure as NSA director and the surveillance programs he oversaw. In the end, those battles never really materialized. Opposition to Hayden quickly melted away, leaving only the Senate's hard-core left to oppose him.
Hayden faces major hurdles in completing needed reforms at the CIA, but as we've noted on several occasions, he's more than up to the challenge. The process of fixing our intelligence system took another step forward this morning, with the confirmation of General Hayden. I would imagine the "leak brigade" at Langley is a bit upset, because Hayden will likely accelerate the process of ferreting out staffers who provide classified information to the press. For that clique, life is about to get a lot tougher.