During his campaign Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” and rid Washington of of political insiders who’ve rigged the system. Yet one by one, as president-elect Trump nominates the leaders of his new administration, the swamp seems to be overflowing. So we created the Swamp-O-Meter for each nominee that takes into account the number of years as a politician or working in Washington, net worth, connections to big money, personal conflicts of interest, and any history of racist and homophobic behavior.
Mike Pompeo, nominee for Director of the CIA, is a 3 out of 5 on the Swamp-O-Meter. He’s been a politician for 6 years, has been bankrolled by and is beholden to the Kochs, and has accused American Muslims of being complicit in terrorist attacks. Can you spell swamp?
Who is Mike Pompeo?
Mike Pompeo, a former Army cavalry officer turned lawyer, won his election to the House of Representatives in 2010 with extensive help from the Koch brothers and Koch Industries, his longtime patrons. Since 2009, Koch Industries and its employees have contributed $357,000 to Pompeo.
Since then, the “congressman from Koch” advocated for restoring bulk collection of Americans’ domestic calling records, brushed off concerns about the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, and categorized individuals accused of torture in a 2014 Senate report as “patriots.”
Other than serving on the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo has little to no experience in the world of intelligence.
7 reasons to resist Pompeo’s nomination to be the next CIA director
- Pompeo praised the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs—despite findings that they were useless, ineffective, and illegal.
In 2009, Pompeo denounced President Barack Obama’s decision to close CIA black-site prisons and also to require interrogators to adhere to the rules of the Army Field Manual and eschew practices such as waterboarding and rectal feeding. Following the 2014 release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture, Pompeo said, “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots. The programs being used were within the law, within the constitution.”
- Pompeo wants to reinstitute and expand bulk collection of domestic calling records and include financial and lifestyle details.
“I believe that program has proven to be a very valuable asset for the intelligence community and for law enforcement,” Pompeo told McClatchy in 2016. He added that he wants to see the National Security Agency “restart its bulk collection of metadata and combine those records with even more information: financial and ‘lifestyle’ details that would be accessible in a huge, searchable database.” He wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.”
- Pompeo suggested he may give closer scrutiny to Americans who use privacy encryption software.
“Forcing terrorists into encrypted channels, however, impedes their operational effectiveness by constraining the amount of data they can send and complicating transmission protocols, a phenomenon known in military parlance as virtual attrition,” Pompeo wrote in an op-ed published in January by The Wall Street Journal. “Moreover, the use of strong encryption in personal communications may itself be a red flag.”
- Pompeo disparaged U.S. Muslim communities on the House floor, implying they were complicit in terrorist attacks.
Pompeo claimed on the House floor that members of Muslim communities in the United States have not condemned acts of Islamic extremist terrorism against the United States and therefore are complicit in those and any future attacks. “When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith, and are performed in the name of that faith, a special obligation falls on that faith’s leaders to respond,” he said. “Instead, their silence has made most Islamic leaders across America complicit in these acts.” Pompeo also depicted the war on terror as a battle between Christianity and Islam. In reality, not only have Muslim leaders in the United States vociferously condemned extremism, but Muslim communities have actually been instrumental in thwarting more than a dozen terrorist attacks since 2001.
- Pompeo dismissed a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay as a “political stunt.”
Pompeo opposed the Obama administration’s effort to shut down the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—where 56 detainees have been imprisoned for more than a decade without trial. After visiting the facility in 2013, he told a congressional committee that the ongoing detainee hunger strike was a “political stunt.” In December 2015, he signed a letter to President Obama urging him against transferring prisoners from Guantanamo and suggesting that military officers should consider disobeying the commander in chief. Pompeo described Guantanamo as “critical to national security” and claimed that closing it would create “potential for endless litigation and rights expanded well beyond those afforded to enemy combatants.”
- Pompeo politicized the Benghazi investigation to raise his own political profile.
Pompeo, a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, released a 48-page supplement to the official committee report. His supplement accused Hillary Clinton of intentionally misleading the public about the events in Benghazi for political gain. The official report found no new evidence of wrongdoing by the Obama administration or Clinton.
- Pompeo is a climate denier who would ignore the urgent security threats from climate change.
Like the Koch brothers—who are significant donors to his campaigns—Pompeo denies the science of climate change. This rejection of facts runs counter to defense and intelligence experts, including current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who noted that climate change impacts “exacerbate—and potentially spark—political instability.” But Pompeo seems to ignore these warnings, instead calling President Obama’s focus on climate and security “ignorant, dangerous, and absolutely unbelievable.”
He called the Paris Agreement, the first international agreement that establishes universal commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an “elitist effort.” The CIA praised the Paris Agreement for establishing the framework to mitigate the threats of climate change.
How you can #ResistPompeo
The Central Intelligence Agency director must be confirmed by a majority of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a majority vote on the floor of the Senate.
Call, write, or tweet:
- Richard Burr (R-NC) at 202.224.3154
- James Risch (R-ID) at 202.224.2752
- Marco Rubio (R-FL) at 202.224.3041
- Susan Collins (R-ME) at 202.224.2523
- Roy Blunt (R-MO) at 202.224.5721
- James Lankford (R-OK) at 202.224.5754
- Tom Cotton (R-AR) at 202.224.2353
- John Cornyn (R-TX) at 202.224.2934
and demand that they examine and question Pompeo’s record before deciding how they will vote.