Kansas rep Mike Pompeo confirmed as CIA director

He is a climate change sceptic, anti-gay marriage and is in favour of torture methods

Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 24 January 2017 02:44
The Kansas rep has changed his views on crucial issues like torture and surveillance
The Kansas rep has changed his views on crucial issues like torture and surveillance

The Senate has confirmed controversial candidate Mike Pompeo to head the CIA in President Donald Trump's new administration.

The vote Monday was 66-32.

His appointment was confirmed despite opposition from some Democrats, who highlighted the Kansas Republican's varying viewpoints on key issues such as surveillance, torture and Russia’s "influence campaign" in the 2016 Presidential election.

During his senate confirmation hearing, Mr Pompeo refused accept findings by Nasa on climate change and said he would not let his personal views against gay marriage interfere with his new role.

Mr Pompeo will lead the major agency as the intelligence community has been thrust into the spotlight and become an increasingly partisan issue.

US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, are currently reportedly investigating the frequent contact between new national security adviser, retired general Michael Flynn, and the Russian ambassador to the US, around the time that former President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering with the election.

Mr Trump largely dismissed their findings that Vladimir Putin authorised his operatives to meddle with the US election and insisted that any hacking did not help his path to the White House.

CIA director nominee Mike Pompeo refuses to accept Nasa's findings on climate change

Mr Trump’s first official stop as President was to make a speech to around 400 CIA employees in front of the memorial wall, but he spent more time talking about his "war" with the press and the size of his Inauguration crowds than issues directly relating to intelligence.

"There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump, there is nobody," the President had insisted.

Donald Trump performs U-turn by praising the CIA

But former CIA director Leon Panetta told CNN that the CIA was "not the appropriate place to start whining" about the Inauguration.

"To go off and start talking about the press, talking about how many people were at the inauguration, I just think frankly, that was not appropriate," he said.

Mr Pompeo's appointment comes the same evening that Rex Tillerson, an oil tycoon with links to Russia, was confirmed as secretary of state.

The White House has complained Senate Democrats are stalling Mr Trump's Cabinet picks, which meant Mr Trump visited the memorial wall without a CIA director.

Democrats, in turn, have accused Republicans of rushing through the picks without proper background checks.

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