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Hayden sworn in new CIA chief

Air Force Gen Hayden reassured the agency that it remains crucial to US spy operations and analysis.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 13:27 IST

Air Force Gen Michael Hayden has been sworn in as CIA director and he told the officers at the embattled agency that they must be competent and cooperative to keep the "central" in Central Intelligence Agency.

Even with those marching orders, Hayden reassured the agency that it remains crucial to US spy operations and analysis.

In his first day on the job on Tuesday, Hayden told his staff that only the CIA has the "connective tissue" to bring the intelligence community together.

A fan of sports metaphors, Hayden compared the CIA to the star player on a football team: critical but part of a whole that must work together.

Hayden addressed the work force for under an hour, taking questions and getting a standing ovation, said agency spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck.

While the CIA once was pre-eminent over the 15 other spy agencies, the 2004 intelligence reform law made it equal to other organisations including the National Security Agency and Defence Intelligence Agency.

According to Dyck, Hayden said the CIA must make sure it is "competent" and "cooperative" to ensure it is "central."

Hayden, the former NSA chief who served as the country's No 2 intelligence official for the last year, was sworn-in by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

President George W Bush is going to the CIA's campus in suburban Virginia today for a second, presidential swearing-in.