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Pompeo Choice for CIA Draws Positive Reviews

Image: Pompeo Choice for CIA Draws Positive Reviews

By    |   Saturday, 19 Nov 2016 09:10 PM

President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA is drawing widespread praise from the intelligence community, elected officials and news organizations as a strong conservative and national security expert who will be tough on terrorism.

"When I saw the choice, I was heartened," retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who once directed the agency, said at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

"This is a serious man who takes these questions seriously and who's studied these questions" on cybersecurity and other national security concerns, he said on Friday. "I'm heartened by the choice."

Hayden, who responded to a question after a speech at the foundation, also helmed the National Security Agency.

California Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Pompeo "one of the most respected voices in the House of Representatives on national security issues.

"Mike will undoubtedly develop a close working relationship with Congress in his new post," he said.

The committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, who also represents the Golden State, lauded Pompeo as "bright and hard-working.

"He is someone who is willing to listen and engage, both key qualities in a CIA director," Schiff said.

Pompeo, 52, was among the three key members of Trump's national security team who were announced on Friday.

The president-elect also said that he would nominate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general after his inauguration in January and disclosed that he was naming retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

Pompeo and Sessions must be confirmed by Congress.

"This was a difficult decision," Pompeo said late Friday in accepting Trump's offer. "I have genuinely loved representing the people of Kansas in Congress, working to make our community stronger and more prosperous.

"But ultimately the opportunity to lead the world's finest intelligence warriors, who labor tirelessly to keep this nation and Kansas safe, is a call to service I cannot ignore," he said.
Elected in the tea party wave in 2010, Pompeo is graduate of West Point — first in his class — and the Harvard Law School, where he edited the Harvard Law Review.

He spent five years in the Army, serving as a cavalry officer, later working as a lawyer for the Washington powerhouse firm of Williams & Connolly. He then moved into business.

Since coming to Capitol Hill, Pompeo has become a strong conservative voice on a variety of issues. He opposed Obamacare and the 16-day partial federal government shutdown in 2013 that cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion.

But his expertise is in national security, as a member of the Intelligence Committee and the special House panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

In June, Pompeo released a scathing supplement to the Benghazi committee's report on the assaults that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two former Navy SEALs.

Pompeo said that State Department officials — including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and the Obama White House "misled the public about the events in Benghazi."

"Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," he said in the report, which was co-authored by Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.

"With the presidential election just 56 days away, rather than tell the American people the truth and increase the risk of losing an election, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.

"They publicly blamed the deaths on a video-inspired protest they knew had never occurred," the Republicans said.

This tenacity, strong analytical ability and deep facility with national security issues have brought universal praise to Pompeo as Trump's nominee to head the CIA.

Pompeo is a "good and wise selection," said Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, former Intelligence Committee chairman.

The congressman's military and private-sector experience fit "with the demands of a CIA director," he added. "Since he began his service on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, intelligence issues have become his passion."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said that with Pompeo, Sessions and Flynn in his Cabinet, "it means these guys are going to get tougher on terrorists."

The GOP governor told McClatchy that this "is a very good thing — and I think was one of the key issues of the campaign that people didn’t feel safe at home or abroad.

Specifically on Pompeo, Brownback said: "You’re putting in place a very strong, 'tough-on-terrorism' man to head the CIA."

Trump's selection also brought praise from Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard, who described Pompeo as "eminently qualified.

"Not only is Pompeo qualified for CIA director, he would represent a welcome change of direction from an Obama administration marked by catastrophic intelligence failures."

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President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA is drawing widespread praise from the intelligence community, elected officials and news organizations as a strong conservative and national security expert who will be tough on...
pompeo, cia, positive, reviews, gop, trump, cabinet
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2016-10-19
Saturday, 19 Nov 2016 09:10 PM
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