Donald Trump has reportedly asked Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to become his CIA Director according to sources within the Trump transition team.
Pompeo is a conservative Republican and Tea Party favorite who has been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Trump is said to be set to make the announcement on Friday along with other nominations, including that of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, and retired Lt. General Michael Flynn as national security adviser.
Pompeo is also a harsh critic of the current administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack. He is a graduate of West Point, a former Army officer and a Harvard Law School graduate.
Trump has vowed to bring back some of the CIA’s harshest tactics used in the years following the 9/11 attacks, including waterboarding. He has said that he would actually go farther than that.
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California called Pompeo “very bright and hardworking” even thought the two have clashed on multiple matters including the administration’s handling of the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
“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, both key qualities in a CIA Director,” Schiff said in a statement on Friday.
“I am honored to have been given this opportunity to serve and to work alongside President-elect Donald J. Trump to keep American safe. I also look forward to working with America’s intelligence warriors, who do so much to protect Americans each and every day,” the Kansas Congressman said in a statement.
He is also a major backer of the National Security Agency and its sweeping domestic surveillance programs, a number of which were revealed in 2013 by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. At the time, Pompeo wrote, “I am convinced that the intelligence collection actions are not only lawful and constitutional, but also consistent with the critical mission of defeating radical Islamic terrorism.”
Pompeo shares Donald Trump’s exaggerated concerns over the threat posed by Islamic terrorists. Following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, he singled out Muslim faith leaders as potentially complicit in crimes committed by their congregation members.
“When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith, and are performed in the name of that faith, a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith. Instead of responding, silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts, and more importantly still, in those that may well follow.”