NEW YORK, March 14. / TASS /. President of the United States Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he intends to appoint the incumbent director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Pompeo, instead of Rex Tillerson as head of the US foreign policy department.
Previously, in the history of the US, the former CIA director did not become Secretary of State. Before becoming head of the State Department, Pompeo should receive approval from the Senate of the US Congress. The hearings on this matter will be held in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April. At the moment, there is little doubt that Pompeo will be approved.
Only in January 2017 legislators overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Pompeo to the post of director of the CIA. This decision was then supported by 66 senators, 32 opposed. On Tuesday, a number of lawmakers expressed their support for Pompeo’s candidacy for the post of Secretary of State – both his fellow Republicans and the Democrats. Some of the members of the Congress expressed hope for a tougher US policy towards Russia under the new Secretary of State.
Almost all political commentators in the United States note the conservatism of Pompeo, who is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and served in the US Army in 1986-1991, including in the US contingent in West Berlin. The current Director of the CIA is called the “hawk” and hardliner on most issues relating to foreign policy.
Pompeo and Russia
Even before his official appointment as director of the CIA, Pompeo has repeatedly criticized Russia. At the hearings held in January 2017 on his confirmation of the post of head of the intelligence department, Pompeo said that Moscow “aggressively restores its positions” in the world. According to his version then, Russia “threatens Europe and does almost nothing to help defeat the IG (the Islamic state terrorist group banned in the Russian Federation).
Pompeo at the hearings called Russia among the main threats to the United States. In this list, he also included IG, Iran, China and the DPRK.
The Director of the CIA repeatedly spoke on the subject of Russia’s interference in the American elections, most recently on March 11, 2018.
On the air of the channel Fox News he said: “The Russians tried to intervene in the elections in the United States in 2016. They were engaged in this and before the attempts of Russians to conduct operations aimed at influencing the United States, a long history.” It was Russians who were involved, then outside this country [RF] or not associated with Russia. ” Pompeo also answered in the affirmative to the question of whether he meant Russians directly associated with the Kremlin.
At the same time, the head of the intelligence department, accusing Russia, noted that “there is no reason to believe that some voting results have been changed.”
Pompeo repeatedly called Moscow a rival to Washington, although it did not rule out the possibility of interaction between the US and Russian special services if it meets US interests. “While Russia remains an enemy, we will seriously jeopardize the lives of Americans if we ignore the possibilities of working with Russian special services in the fight against terrorism,” the CIA director said in a letter to the Democratic leader in the Senate of the US Congress Charles Schumer.
In November 2016, Pompeo on the air of the channel C-Span spoke in favor of executing the ex-employee of the US National Security Agency, Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia. “He must be brought back from Russia and brought to justice, and I think the correct decision in this case will be the death penalty,” Pompeo said at that time. “He put a great risk to the lives of my friends, your friends, who are now serving in the armed forces , stealing information and passing it on to foreign powers. ”
Donald Trump has already managed to give the most positive characteristic of the new candidate for the post of Secretary of State. “I’ve been working with Mike Pompeo for some time, incredible energy, incredible intellect, and we are always on the same wavelength with him,” the American leader told reporters before departing for a working trip to California. “The relationship has always been extremely good, and , what I need from the Secretary of State. ”
“It seems to me that Mike Pompeo will be a really wonderful Secretary of State, I have full confidence in him,” Trump added. He noted that he and Pompeo had a very similar train of thought. The American leader stated that “from the very beginning, from the first day” gets along well with Pompeo.
According to the sources of the channel CNN in the White House, Pompeo is one of the few employees of the administration, who in recent months managed to enter Trump’s inner circle and establish a strong personal relationship with him. One of the factors was that the director of the CIA conducted personal intelligence reconnaissance briefings for the American leader three or four times a week. After the completion of these briefings, Trump and Pompeo talked for a long time alone.
As the former director of the CIA and the US National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, said in an interview with the newspaper The New York Times on Tuesday, Pompeo “demonstrated that, by his statements and in the course of his thoughts, he is more similar to Trump than Tillerson ever was.” However, Hayden noted that Tillerson played the role of a “counterweight in the case of spontaneous reactions of the president,” but Pompeo is unlikely to do so.
Deal with Iran and regime change in DPRK
Pompeo, like Trump, extremely negatively assesses the outcome of the deal on Tehran’s nuclear program. Shortly after Trump’s victory in the presidential election, Pompeo wrote on Twitter: “I’m looking forward to canceling this catastrophic deal with the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism.” He did not change his views on this matter and after the appointment as director of the CIA. During a speech in Texas in October 2017, he described Iran as a “despotic theocracy”, as well as “a harmful empire that builds up power and influence in the Middle East.”
Trump, explaining the reasons for Tillerson’s resignation, noted, in particular, the existence of disagreements with him in his views on Iran. “I think that the Iranian deal is terrible, as I understand it, I thought it was not bad, I wanted to either tear it up or somehow modify it, and he was of a different opinion,” the president said.
Pompeo also made tough statements against the DPRK, in fact, called for a change of power in the country. “It would be wonderful to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, to remove weapons from it, but the most dangerous is the one who controls [nuclear weapons],” the CIA director said at the security conference in Aspen, Colorado in July 2017 year. “I hope we will find a way to separate the regime from this system,” he said, but then assured that the people of the DPRK would be happy to remove the leader of the country from power.
Tillerson repeatedly stressed that the regime change is not Washington’s goal.
Conservative of conservatives
Prior to his appointment as director of the CIA, Pompeo from 2011 to 2017 was a congressman from Kansas State – one of the most conservative in the country. He repeatedly expressed doubts about the scientific validity of the concept of global warming and stated about the inadmissibility of abortion.
Pompeo consistently spoke out against the closure of a special prison for extremists at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), and also advocated the use of torture by US intelligence services against suspected terrorists. He also supported programs on mass surveillance and data collection about citizens in the United States.
Pompeo declared that his political views were formed under the influence of his deep Christian convictions. In 2015 he took part in the congress of Christians, where he said: “We are participating in the struggle against radical Islam, it is such a battle that our country has not faced since the times of its great wars.” Pompeo was also ranked among the supporters of the so-called Tea Party – the extremely conservative wing of the Republican Party.
According to the newspaper The New York Times, “Pompeo is likely to become one of the most conservative Secretary of State in the history of the United States.”