News and Commentary

5 Things You Need To Know About Trump CIA Director Pick Mike Pompeo

On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump announced a flurry of selections to fill top cabinet posts. One of them was Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Who exactly is Pompeo, and what can Americans expect from him as CIA director? Here are five things you need to know about Pompeo.

1. Pompeo has a 77 percent liberty score at Conservative Review. Conservative Review‘s biography praises Pompeo for his leadership on numerous conservative issues, including his fight to end various federal subsidies, but noted that “there is room for improvement.”

“Pompeo was elected in the 2010 wave and hasn’t performed to the same level as some of his conservative counterparts,” the biography states. “Pompeo has been on the wrong side of issues as varied as fast track trade authority for President Obama, the effort to oust John Boehner (R-OH) from the Speaker’s chair, and the defund Obamacare movement. Regarding the reauthorization of the crony capital Export-Import Bank, Pompeo has hedged and in limited circumstances has supported raising the debt ceiling.”

That said, there are still plenty of reasons for conservatives to be excited about him as CIA director.

2. Pompeo has been a staunch critic of the Iran deal. Pompeo and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) have accused the Obama administration of engaging in various side deals with the Iranian regime – accusations that have proven to be true. Pompeo has also tweeted that he looks “forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

3. Pompeo understands the threat of radical Islam. Here are some of the statements Pompeo has made about the issue, via the Charlotte Observer:

  • Pompeo has criticized the Obama administration for refusing to acknowledge the need “to defeat and destroy the threat from radical Islamic terrorism, whether it fights under the name of Al Qaeda … or Boko Haram or ISIS or any of the other dozens of groups that are founded on the central principle of the destruction of the West and the imposition of Sharia law.”
  • Pompeo has said the administration following Obama needs “a military, diplomatic and ideological defeat of radical Islamic terrorism.”
  • On the House floor in 2013, Pompeo railed against “the silence of Muslim leaders” after the Boston bombing attacks, stating that “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.”

Pompeo has also defended the use of enhanced-interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay and spoke out against a Kansas mosque bringing a speaker who once sang “I Am From Hamas.”

4. Pompeo was on the House Benghazi committee. Pompeo and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) thought that Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) report wasn’t harsh enough towards Hillary Clinton, so Pompeo and Jordan released another report in which they stated that Clinton “misled the public” over what happened during the terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Pompeo has also asserted that Benghazi is a worse scandal than Watergate.

5. Pompeo has supported the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program. Pompeo has declared that Edward Snowden should “be given a death sentence.” Pompeo’s view on the NSA may be a sticking point with some conservatives, but as Ben Shapiro has noted, Pompeo’s position is “relatively uncontroversial among intelligence hawks.”