What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 1, 2010

City Council Hearing Today on Ravenstahl's Honoring of Bush's NSA/CIA Dir. Michael Hayden (Updated 1x)

Michael Hayden seated at the center of the table

Of all the boneheaded moves by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, this may be the most inexplicable and easily avoidable.

Here's a clue, Lil Mayor Luke: You don't honor a man who has a record of condoning torture, destroying evidence and misleading Congress about Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program which Hayden himself helped to implement.

Pretty simple, huh?

But that's precisely what Ravenstahl has done.

From WDUQ News:
A small nameplate honoring Gen. Michael V. Hayden at the corner of Allegheny Avenue and North Shore Drive will be the subject of what could be a big public hearing today before Pittsburgh Council. Greg Barnhisel of Pittsburgh’s Park Place neighborhood noticed the nameplate while visiting the Carnegie Science Center. Barnhisel says he does not question the debt of gratitude owed to the general for his service in the U.S. Air Force but he does question the wisdom of honoring him for his work after leaving the military. Hayden left the Air Force as a four-star general to become the Director of the National Security Agency and then the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. While in those post Hayden became a lightening rod for the left when he helped to implement the Bush administration’s warrantless-wiretapping program and then helped defined the CIA’s interrogation program that many have equated to torture. Hayden is a native of Pittsburgh and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl honored him with the plaque but did not get it approved by the city council. Something he did not have to do but is customary. Barnhisel Gathered the needed signatures on a petition to get the hearing scheduled. He says the way the mayor posted the nameplate should be part of the debate at today’s public hearing and so should an examination of the appropriateness of honoring Hayden. What he does not want is to have the public hearing devolve into a debate about Bush era policies. The hearing begins at 9:00am in Council Chambers.
And, if you're wondering about the illustration at the top, I created it back in 2006 for a post entitled Bush's Made Men. In that post, I quoted Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University, on Hayden's nomination to CIA Director by George W. Bush:
As these shadowy figures multiply, you can understand why civil libertarians increasingly see the White House like a gathering at Tony Soprano's Bada Bing! club. In Soprano's world, you cannot become a "made man" unless you first earn your bones by "doing" some guy or showing blind loyalty. Only when you have proven unquestioning loyalty does Tony "open the books" for a new guy.

Hayden earned his bones by implementing the NSA operation despite clear federal law declaring such surveillance to be a criminal act. He can now join the rest of the made men of the Bush administration.

Heck of a job, Lukey!



coverage here.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage here.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review coverage here.



Richmond K. Turner said...

He just got confused, Maria. He heard the last name, and got all a-flutter because he thought he was going to get to meet Hayden Panettiere. It's hard for him to listen to the details when the "Beavis and Butthead" part of his brain is going "Heh heh, heh heh, she's a babe!".

Maria said...

Funny thing is, if Lukey were working under Hayden he probably would have been waterboarded by now for gross incompetence.


Maria said...

I'm pissed! This doesn't seem to be being covered on the City Channel nor on City Council's live streaming page.


EdHeath said...

This whole situation reminds me of the LED billboard. Ravenstahl gets in a position where he wants to do something that he knows might be controversial and have public opposition. He works out a way where he doesn't have to consult with City Council (quasi-legal in the LED billboard case, fully legal but flying in the face of established practice in this case, if DUQ is to be believed). Then someone notices, and the Mayor has to deal with the backlash of not only doing something some people object to, but also the backlash of not having run the thing past City Council.

I mean, I can see honoring Michael Hayden as "famous person from Pittsburgh" and I can also see not honoring him because he was part of the Bush mess. But it is also so much worse when Ravenstahl has the additional problem of not having consulted Council. It may not be an absolute necessity, but it seems like a good idea especially when the honoree might be seen by some as controversial.

Joshua said...

More proof that Bathroom-stahl is a closet Republican. As if running as both a Dem AND a Republican weren't enough.

Maria said...

DINO* Lukey

Maybe that's why he stood up Obama...

*Democrat In Name Only

EdHeath said...

The Trib article implies the Mayor was within the bounds of the law at the time in terms of how he had the sign put up.

On the other hand, honoring Michael Hayden was probably not the best idea, and I suspect the Mayor knows that. I mean, yes, famous person from Pittsburgh, but famous person from Pittsburgh who worked in a Republican administration and who allowed, perhaps encouraged torture.