CIA head jabs at ‘microwave’ surveillance claims

CIA head jabs at ‘microwave’ surveillance claims
© Greg Nash

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday jabbed at those claiming his agency uses microwaves for spying, calling the idea “a fanciful notion.”

Pompeo's comment appeared to be in reference to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who remarked last month about “microwaves that turn into cameras” while discussing surveillance methods.

“These officers have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Pompeo said of CIA employees during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


“They quietly go about their work and try not to get too worked up over the headlines, including the fanciful notion that they spy on their fellow citizens via microwave ovens.”

Conway claimed in March that President Trump’s campaign team may have been monitored in “any number of ways.”

“You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets ± any number of ways,” she told the Bergen County Record in New Jersey.

“We know this is a fact of modern life,” Conway added while also mentioning “microwaves that turn into cameras.”

Conway was defending Trump’s unproven claim that former President Obama “tapped” his wires at Trump Tower in New York last year during the presidential campaign.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last month that Conway’s remark was made "in jest."

“I think there’s pretty sound evidence that the microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone,” he said following widespread ridicule over Conway's comment.

Conway later said that "no one can take a joke" in Washington, D.C., calling the city’s residents “humorless.”

Pompeo said Thursday that the CIA focuses on surveilling foreign governments, adding that strict rules prevent it from improperly surveilling U.S. citizens.

“To take just one important example: CIA is legally prohibited from spying on people through electronic surveillance in the United States," he said.