Monday, March 1, 2010

Debate over Hayden Nameplate Moves to Council

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.

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