Before CIA Director Mike Pompeo can become secretary of state, he'll have to go through confirmation hearings and a Senate vote, Sen. Angus King said Thursday, and he has several questions to ask of the former representative about statements he's made in the past.
"The qualifications for director of the CIA and secretary of state are very different," the Maine independent told CNN's "New Day" program. "I voted for Mike Pompeo going to the CIA. I felt he had the technical background and skills to run that agency."
However, King continued, the CIA "is essentially a fact agency. Their job is to provide policymakers with information. State is an entirely different job. It is a policy job. It is not a technical fact job."
If Pompeo would become secretary, he'd become the spokesman for the United States across the world, King said, and there's where the questions start.
"I have questions about that because he has views expressed over the years in Congress, and I think that needs to be examined," said King.
Meanwhile, CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel brings questions of her own, said King.
"She has generally a very positive reputation in the intelligence community," said King. "On the other hand, she was very much involved in the torture situation in Thailand during that very unfortunate period, as [Sen.] John McCain characterized it,one of the darkest times in American history."
In 2002, after the 9/11 attacks, Haspel was in charge of a "black site" facility in Thailand where extreme interrogation methods, including waterboarding, against several al-Qaida suspects.
"There was a videotape of one of these so-called enhanced interrogation," he said. "You and I would call it torture. The general counsel of the CIA said do not destroy this tape. It was destroyed. And I want to know what her role was in that decision. To me, that takes it out of, well, we thought the incident was legal and we did this."
Haspel will have some things she'll need to make clearer, and that she understands what current law is.
"The law is no more torture," said King. "It's not what we do. We have a president who talked about waterboarding in the past as not a big deal, and I want somebody who is going to say, 'no, Mr. President, the law doesn't allow that.'"
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