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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representative Mike Pompeo, President-elect Donald Trump’s surprise choice to head the CIA, supports the U.S. government’s sweeping collection of Americans’ communications data and wants to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran.

The retired Army officer, West Point and Harvard Law School graduate also has defended the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques that are widely condemned as torture.

The Kansas Republican has criticized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state and her handling of the 2012 attacks on U.S. posts in Benghazi, Libya.

A member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Pompeo, 52, was first elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave from the congressional district centered on his hometown of Wichita. Members of both parties regard him as intelligent, collegial and capable, with a keen grasp of national security issues.

“Mike is very bright and hard-working, and will devote himself to helping the agency develop the best possible intelligence for policy makers,” said Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. “While we have had our share of strong differences – principally on the politicization of the tragedy in Benghazi – I know that he is someone who is willing to listen and engage.”

Pompeo “is a serious guy who studies issues carefully,” said former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden.

Some civil liberties and human rights advocates, however, expressed concern over Pompeo’s selection because he opposes closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

They also criticized his support for the National Security Agency’s now-defunct bulk communications metadata collection and other surveillance programs.

“These positions and others merit serious public scrutiny through a confirmation process,” said Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In a January op-ed in the Wall Street Journal he co-authored, Pompeo called for a “fundamental upgrade to America’s surveillance capabilities,” including resuming bulk collection of domestic phone metadata, the numbers and time stamps of calls, but not their content.

The program, which a federal appeals court and two governmental review panels found to be illegal and ineffective, should be expanded to include “publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database”, and that “legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed,” he wrote.

He also called for the death penalty for Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who disclosed the existence of the metadata program and other top-secret surveillance programs.

Pompeo stands a good chance of being confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. Announcement of his nomination was warmly greeted by Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will conduct his confirmation hearing.


Pompeo has been at the forefront of attacks in Congress on Clinton, accusing her of “criminality” for storing emails containing classified information on her private server.

He served on the Republican-led House committee that investigated the attacks by Islamist extremists on U.S. diplomatic and CIA posts in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

While the panel found no wrongdoing by the administration, Pompeo and another member appended to the final report a commentary accusing Clinton and other officials of failing to protect the posts and to respond appropriately to the attacks.

Democrats accused Pompeo of using inaccurate information to exaggerate alleged failures by Clinton on Benghazi.Some of Pompeo’s positions also are at odds with the assessments of the intelligence officers and analysts Trump wants him to command.

While he has argued that the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, produced useful intelligence, current CIA Director John Brennan has said he would resign if he were ordered to resume the practice.

Other CIA and military officers and FBI agents have said so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” do not produce reliable information because prisoners will “say anything” to end their suffering, as one CIA official put it.

Pompeo also is at odds with the intelligence community’s assessment of the 2015 deal that lifted financial sanctions from Iran in return for limits on its nuclear program.

He has vowed to overturn the deal, and suggested in a 2014 roundtable with journalists that the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, a proposal that U.S. intelligence experts said would only delay Tehran’s development of a warhead, not halt it.

Pompeo also has opposed the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, while at the CIA, a recently created Mission Center for Global Issues tracks global warming as a threat to U.S. security.

He has taken positions that are at odds with Trump’s, notably on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who also is supported by Iran.

Russia has established a toehold in the Middle East, and “we now have the Iranian-Russian axis there largely running free,” Pompeo told a security forum in 2015.

Pompeo, who was born in California, graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was an artillery officer in the army for five years. He received a degree from the Harvard Law School and was an editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Dustin Volz; Editing by John Walcott and Alistair Bell)

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14 responses to “Trump’s CIA Pick Supports Domestic Surveillance, Opposes Iran Deal”

  1. carmen.bise says:

    After 5 years I finally quit my office work and it changed my life… I started doing work online, over a website I stumbled upon over internet, for a few hrs /a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my old job… Last pay-check i got was for Nine thousand bucks… Awesome thing about it is the more time i got to spend with my family…

  2. AgLander says:

    Outstanding choice! The Make America Great Again Train is rolling!

  3. dbtheonly says:

    Well he’s in favor of sneak attacks. So that’s pro Pearl Harbor.

    He’s in favor or internment camps.

    Where is he on torture?

    Is he working for America or Hirohito?

  4. Pompeo “is a serious guy who studies issues carefully,” said former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden.

    And his studies have led him to the conclusion that torture is acceptable—whatever happened to the principles of Christianity? Have they just been conveniently ignored in order to make way for self-serving and sadistic motives of the likes of a pompous Pompeo? Even the Prophet Muhammad forbade torture of those captured during His lifetime, admonishing the Muslims during His day not to mistreat captives of war during their battles and skirmishes with the various idolatrous Arab tribes.

    And now, along comes a resurgence of attitudes from Biblical and pre-Islamic Arabia, courtesy of fanatics like Pompeo who is not that far removed from fanatics who call themselves Muslims, and who also has a sadistic bent, except he would have America resort to psychological torture.

    Trump is moving America back to an emotional/mental state like that in pre-Islamic Arabia.

    • Jim Samaras says:

      So if Muhammad was against those things why are his followers beheading people and burning them alive in cages? You’re confusing me Aaron…..

      • Bill P says:

        Yeah they should behave like Christians and burn them at the stake.

        • Jim Samaras says:

          Ummm, that was in the 1600’s. Last I checked we were in the 21st century and that’s what is happening TODAY. Keep up Bill

          • Bill P says:

            Ummm Jim as usual you are incorrect. Burning at the stake continued till the early 1800’s. The Christians beheaded people in England – Sir Thomas Moore, 2 of Henry VIII’s wives for example, in France people were guillotined until 1977. Both are largely Christian countries so Jesus must have been in favor of these execution methods since you assume the same thing of Mohammed because radical Islamists behead people. Actually neither religion endorses this behavior but radical believers do.

      • If you were smart and had paid attention to educate yourself, your mind you would have thought to ask “Why did the KKK lynch people and burn black people’s homes down while claiming to be Christians? “Why does Jim Samaras ask such insensitive and idiotic questions when the answers are clearly evident, even to a high school student”?

        Jim, Jesus didn’t ask Trump to behave towards women like Trump has, or to lie, to deceive, and abuse technology for personal gain and to utter harmful statements.

        Jim, if you’re going to insist on being a child with no understanding of rationality, then don’t waste my time asking questions with obvious answers. Exert yourself to be more intelligent.

  5. Jim Samaras says:

    Finally a sharp guy at the helm of the CIA. They don’t mention he graduated #1 in his class for West Point! Did you hear that? #1…..Trump is already making moves that this country has never seen and we will be a stronger nation because of it

  6. Jon says:

    Another Republican who believes in torture and spying on all American citizens. They have no respect for the 8th or 4th Amendments. The 2nd Amendment is the only one that gets them excited as they do as ordered by the NRA. That may be the only part of the Constitution and its Amendments that remains after Trump and his myrmidons are finished gutting it.

  7. laraskelly says:

    One year have passed since I decided to leave my old job and I never felt better in my life… I started doing work on-line, for this company I stumbled upon over internet, few hours a day, and I make much more than i did on my previous work… My last month check was for Nine thousand bucks… Great thing about this gig is the more time i got for my kids…

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