Trump’s CIA Pick Pompeo Could Bring Agency Back To Its ‘Darkest Days’

President-elect Trump has selected Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to serve as his CIA Director. Pompeo, who was elected to Congress during the Tea Party wave in 2010, is a former Army officer with degrees from West Point and Harvard, and he currently serves on the House Intelligence Committee. At the same time, Pompeo holds a wide range of controversial views that run counter to progressive values. He also played a key role in the politicization of the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi. As Vox noted, under Pompeo and Trump, “the CIA could be heading back toward a time that many Americans — including some within the CIA itself — believed to be some of the darkest days in CIA, and American, history.”

Mike Pompeo Defended The Use of Torture. Pompeo criticized the 2014 Senate torture report – which documented the use of such harsh practices as waterboarding and “rectal feeding” on terror detainees by the CIA – saying that the techniques were lawful and that those who conducted them were “patriots.” [McClatchy, 11/18/16; PBS, 12/09/14]

Pompeo Falsely Claimed That Torture Led to Osama Bin Laden. “The information we learned from the enhanced interrogation program was important, and led directly to the capture of Osama bin Laden,” Pompeo said in December of 2014. But, the New York Times reported then that “the Senate Intelligence Committee report on C.I.A. torture, released Tuesday, rejects the notion that torturing detainees contributed to finding Bin Laden.” [The Huffington Post, 11/18/16; The New York Times, 12/09/14]

Pompeo Is A Proponent Of The Terror Detainee Prison At Guantanamo Bay. Pompeo once wrote that closing Gitmo will mean that “every progressive lawyer in America” will work to help free them from American prisons. He also suggested that the military could disobey any order from President Obama to close the prison. [Kansas City Star, 9/05/15; The Wichita Eagle, 12/22/15]

Pompeo Is A Vocal Opponent Of The Iran Nuclear Deal. Pompeo tweeted recently that he is “looking forward” to “rolling back” the Iran deal. He has sponsored bills that would increase sanctions on Iran and he even tried to apply for a visa to monitor Iran’s elections. In 2012, he questioned whether the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was telling the truth when he said that Iran had not made the decision to build a nuclear weapon, saying Clapper’s statement was “reminiscent to those of Neville Chamberlain” (Clapper was indeed correct). [ThinkProgress, 4/27/16; The Financial Times, 11/18/16]

Pompeo Wants To Expand The NSA’s Surveillance Powers. Pompeo “wants the nation’s spies to get back their access to mass surveillance data that allowed the federal government to track communications of potential terrorists” and that “eventually he wants the National Security Agency to be able to restart its bulk collection of metadata and combine those records with even more information: financial and ‘lifestyle’ details that would be accessible in a huge, searchable database.” [McClatchy, 1/27/16]

Pompeo Once Said Muslim Leaders Were ‘Complicit’ In Terrorist Acts. Soon after the Boston Marathon terror attack, Pompeo repeated the false claim that Muslim leaders don’t do enough to condemn terrorism to claim that they’re then complicit in such attacks. “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,” he said. [ThinkProgress, 6/11/13; Media Matters, 8/21/14]

Pompeo Once Agreed That Obama Has ‘An Affinity’ For Terrorists. During a radio interview last year, right-wing conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney wondered whether President Obama was at one time expressing a “kind of an affinity for, if not the violent beheading and crucifixions and slaying of Christians and all that, but at least for the cause for which these guys are engaged in such activities.” Pompeo responded: “Frank, every place you stare at the president’s policies and statements, you see what you just described.” [Right Wing Watch, 2/25/16]

Pompeo Was Forced To Apologize For Promoting An Article Calling His Opponent A ‘Turban Topper.’ Pompeo “personally apologized for a tweet his campaign sent out promoting an article that called his opponent a ‘turban topper’ who ‘could be a muslim, a hindu, a buddhist etc who knows.’” The account “tweeted out to his supporters an article he thought would be a ‘good read.’” [The Huffington Post, 8/12/10; ThinkProgress, 8/12/10]

Pompeo Was A Leader In The Politicization Of Benghazi. Despite the fact that House Republicans didn’t find any “smoking gun” implicating Hillary Clinton in any wrongdoing regarding the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks, Pompeo called the episode “worse” than Watergate, and, along with another GOP colleague, “released a supplement to the panel’s final report because they felt that Chairman Trey Gowdy’s effort did not sufficiently criticize the Obama Administration’s handling of the attacks.” During the saga, Pompeo “pushed false theories, including Hillary Clinton’s supposed reliance on longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal for her intelligence.” [Politico, 6/28/16; Media Matters, 6/28/16; Kansas City Star, 10/18/15; Mother Jones, 11/18/16]

Pompeo Opposed Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ “We cannot use our military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values of the country,” he said at the Value Voters Summit in 2011. [SPLC, 10/07/11]

Pompeo Denies There’s A Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. “In 2013, during an interview on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Pompeo said he thinks ‘the science [on climate change] needs to continue to develop.’ He then continued by arguing, incorrectly, that there is still a great deal of debate among climate scientists about climate change.” [ThinkProgress, 11/18/16]