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CIA NOMINEE TELLS OF HIS PLANS TO REDESIGN U.S. SPY AGENCY

John M. Deutch, the likely new chief of the CIA, says he would waste no time sweeping out the old-line management team and taking a top-to-bottom look at ways to redesign the clandestine side of the embattled spy agency.

"It's time for a generational shift," Deutch, now the deputy secretary of defense, said at a mostly friendly Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.Deutch, 56, said he believes the younger officers at CIA are eager to "reinvent themselves" and would welcome a new director who gave them a chance to lead.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Deutch he saw no obstacles to his confirmation by the full Senate. Specter and virtually all committee members praised Deutch's qualifications for a job that he initially turned down when R. James Woolsey quit in January.

"The president has offered you a particularly difficult and thankless job," said Sen. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska, the ranking Democrat. "But if anyone in this country is up to the task, it is you."

Deutch told the committee he would move quickly to shake up the CIA, which is criticized by many for clinging to an insular culture that developed during the Cold War and is now blamed in part for lapses such as the Aldrich Ames spy scandal.

"I believe that major changes are needed, and I would anticipate taking significant action immediately upon confirmation," Deutch said in his opening statement.

"It would be my intention to bring in several new people to fill upper management positions," he said without specifying which posts he had in mind.

Douglas MacEachin, head of the Directorate of Intelligence, is expected to take a leave of absence this summer, and James Hirsch, the head of the Directorate of Science and Technology, plans to retire.

Deutch also said he might support shifting some of the CIA's overseas responsibilities - specifically those related to countering terrorism, drug trafficking and crime - to the FBI. He stressed that the CIA must retain other foreign operations such as the use of human and technical means to spy on other countries.

In another departure from the views of past CIA directors, Deutch said he saw no problem with publicly disclosing the overall size of the intelligence budget, so long as Congress agreed that a more detailed breakdown could be kept secret.