Hayden hit with Hookergate

The military spook suddenly picked to run the CIA doesn't know the Constitution and won't even pretend he's not spying on Americans who oppose the criminal Bush Administration, but he's got an even sleazier new problem this morning.

Gen. Michael Hayden is involved with the same bribery and corruption scandal that put Congressman "Duke" Cunningham in prison and forced CIA boss Porter Goss to quit in shame on Friday. (Reps. Katherine Harris, Duncan Hunter and Virgil H. Goode Jr. and CIA No. 3 man "Dusty" Foggo are some of the other Republicans caught in the massive scandal so far.)

TPM Muckraker reported this morning that for several years while running the secretive National Security Agency, Hayden was spending government money on the same crooked company that spent more than $1.4 million bribing Cunningham to get fraudulent government contracts.

Mitchell Wade, owner of criminal defense contractor MZM Inc., provided prostitutes and "poker parties" for top intelligence officials and members of Congress.

In 2004 and 2005, Hayden contracted for MZM's senior vice president to do "special projects" at the NSA. That MZM executive, Lt. Gen. James C. King, reportedly worked alongside Hayden at NSA headquarters.

At the same time he was working for Hayden at the NSA, King was helping Wade launder dirty campaign donations to Katherine Harris.

King was working for the Counterintelligence Field Activity, one of the many new intelligence agencies or offices launched by the White House after 9/11. And when Wade was forced to give up his criminal company after the Cunningham scandal broke, it was King who became MZM's new president -- the same MZM Inc. that conveniently got a $6.3 million to provide a computer system to the Counterintelligence Field Agency!

Cunningham arranged the whole crooked deal for MZM. The data storage system didn't work and was never installed.

It is unclear what those "special projects" involved. While running the NSA, Hayden oversaw the widespread illegal surveillance of millions of Americans that began with the "Echelon" project under the Clinton Administration and dramatically increased once George W. Bush was sworn in as president in 2001.

Hayden's grasp of the Constitution is creative, to say the least. He claims the Fourth Amendment -- which protects Americans from unlawful search and seizure, including wiretaps and Internet spying -- doesn't require that the government have "probable cause" of a crime to spy on Americans.

In fact, "probable cause" is the whole legal standard that protects Americans from "unreasonable searches and seizures."

Hayden's appalling ignorance -- or deliberate lie -- was revealed at a January 23 press conference. The former NSA chief and current No. 2 White House spook under the odious John Negroponte was sent out to tell the media it was just fine for the government to spy on anybody for no reason at all. Hayden repeatedly argued with a reporter over the content of the Fourth Amendment.

At the same event, Hayden couldn't even be bothered to deny that the White House was spying on its political opponents, including journalists and even regular people opposed to the disastrous Iraq occupation. And in February, Hayden again dodged the question, on two different news programs.

But as is so often the case with Washington criminals, Hayden's future will most likely be decided by his involvement with the outrageous Hookergate scandal that may eventually bring down the entire Bush administration.

While Hayden's move to the CIA may be doomed, for now he'll still be the deputy director of the White House's spy operation and the hands-on spook behind the Iran-Contra war criminal and death-squad chief John Negroponte's blood-stained throne.

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