President-elect Donald J. Trump has offered Michael Pompeo the role of director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and he accepted it Friday. A transition team official confirmed Friday that Rep. Pompeo was 1 of 3 high profile national security positions–including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national security advisor and Jeff Sessions for attorney general–that had been offered and accepted.
Rep. Pompeo, 52, a third-term congressman from Wichita, Kansas, came as a bit of a surprise to some politicos, despite his background on military and intelligence issues. However, he was on the House of Representatives intelligence and energy and commerce committees, as well as the House Select Committee on Benghazi that investigated the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya.
He opposes closing the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, also known as Gitmo. Despite public opinion, President Barack Obama has sped up the release of even high-risk inmates to get the facility to a point where it cannot justify the cost to keep it operational.
“He would be a great asset to the Trump administration,” said Kansas Republican Chairman Kelly Arnold.
Rep. Pompeo went to the U.S. Military Academy and majored in Mechanical Engineering. He graduated first in his class in 1986 and served in the Regular Army as an Armor Branch cavalry officer from 1986 to 1991. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He then worked as a lawyer for Williams & Connolly before…
Mr. Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace, which was renamed Nex-Tech Aerospace. But in 2006 he sold his interest in the company and became the President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company.
House of Representatives
Rep. Pompeo was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2010 Tea Party wave. He serves the 4th congressional district in Kansas. In addition to serving on the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, he served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
In 2013, he came under fire from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an alleged Muslim rights activist group. In a speech on the House floor following the Boston Marathon bombings, he said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are “potentially complicit” in the attacks.
[brid video=”78951″ player=”2077″ title=”Rep. Mike Pompeo calls on imams to disavow terrorism”]
CAIR, who was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, called on him to withdraw or revise his statement, calling them “false and irresponsible.”
Fitting with President-Elect Trump himself, Rep. Pompeo does not suffer political correctness. After a 2013 visit to Gitmo, when prisoners were on hunger strike, Pompeo said they appeared to be doing just fine.
“It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight,” he said.
However, his confirmation could be contentious with senators who oppose bulk collection of metadata in any form.
In March 2014, he criticized NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden being invited to the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. Mr. Pompeo called for Snowden’s invitation to speak via telecast at the annual Texas event to be rescinded.
“Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database,” he said just this past year. “Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection.”
On Iran, Rep. Pompeo mirrors the president-elect’s sentiment on the need to renegotiate the nuclear deal. The world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism was given billions of dollars that cannot be taken back, but subsequent payments and arrangements are still vulnerable to future administrations.
“I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. https://t.co/bifC97jWpY
— Mike Pompeo (@RepMikePompeo) November 17, 2016
Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., offered his congratulations to his colleague Friday morning.
“Mike is very bright and hard-working and will devote himself to helping the Agency develop the best possible intelligence for policy makers,” Schiff said in a statement. “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.”