Trump picks Rep. Pompeo as CIA chief

Trump picks Rep. Pompeo as CIA chief
© Greg Nash

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE has selected Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to lead the CIA.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SessionsSessions hits back at Trump days ahead of Alabama Senate runoff Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama 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 CruzOh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Trump says he'll sign order with 'road to citizenship' for DACA recipients 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 ClintonBiden leads Trump in Florida, tied in Arizona and Texas: poll We haven't seen how low it can go There's a big blue wave coming MORE’s actions during the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Along with Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonPublic letter in Harper's sparks furor Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad 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) MoranSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' probe report Senate Democrats push federal agencies to combat coronavirus scams and robocalls 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.