Trump picks Rep. Pompeo as CIA chief

Trump picks Rep. Pompeo as CIA chief
© Greg Nash

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE has selected Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to lead the CIA.

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Pompeo accepted the offer to replace current CIA Director John Brennan. It came moments after reports emerged that Trump tapped Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE (R-Ala.) to be his attorney general.

“I am honored and humbled to accept the President-elect’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency," Pompeo said in a statement.

He said he had loved representing Kansas in Congress, "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."

Reuters first reported the selection on Pompeo on Friday morning.

Pompeo is considered a serious — and hawkish — member of the Republican national security establishment.

In being nominated to lead the CIA, the House lawmaker appears to have leapfrogged his chairman on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who was one of several names being floated for the post this week.  

After graduating first in his class from West Point, Pompeo served as a cavalry officer before heading to Harvard Law School, where he overlapped with Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal MORE (R-Texas).

After winning an open seat in Kansas, Pompeo made it a priority to join the Intelligence Committee, where he now sits. He was a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi and helps to lead a task force that earlier this year confirmed allegations that intelligence about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria had been manipulated by senior officials at the military’s Central Command.

In recent years, Pompeo has made his name as a particularly vocal critic of the Obama administration’s policy on Iran and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat MORE’s actions during the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Along with Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans MORE (R-Ark.), Pompeo tried to shed light on side deals between Iran and United Nations inspectors. He also tried unsuccessfully to visit Iran earlier this year to observe the country’s elections.

On the Benghazi committee, Pompeo went above and beyond the panel’s conclusions to say that Clinton's actions were “morally reprehensible.”

This summer, he ruled out launching a primary challenge against Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranTrump tests GOP loyalty with election tweet and stimulus strategy VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage As ADA anniversary nears, lawmakers express concern about changes to captioned telephone service MORE (R-Kan.) after initially contemplating a jump to the upper chamber. 

Brennan, who Pompeo would replace, was a frequent critic of Trump during the campaign. In September, he rejected Trump’s claim that intelligence officials were unhappy with President Obama.

And in July, he seemingly suggested he would step down if Trump followed through on his push to bring back so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding.

 

Jonathan Swan contributed.

Updated at 10:45 a.m.