US Senate confirms Mike Pompeo to head CIA

Washington, Jan 24 (IANS) The US Senate has confirmed Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA, replacing John Brennan, a media report said on Tuesday.

Pompeo was tapped by President Donald Trump (before his inauguration) to head the security agency and would be tasked with polishing the tarnished relationship between the Trump administration and the CIA, Efe news reported.

The Central Intelligence Agency that is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the US federal government that gathers, processes and analyzes national security information — had revealed suspected interference by Russia to favour Trump in the November 8 election.

Pompeo’s Senate confirmation on Monday did not receive as much opposition during the process as the other top-level and Cabinet nominees that were put forward by Trump.

His confirmation was originally scheduled to be voted on January 20, but it was postponed until Monday because of a challenge.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said that Pompeo had attempted to hide his extreme views on torture and surveillance and provided contradictory answers to lawmakers during the confirmation process.

Pompeo, 53, is an ultraconservative lawmaker who gained prominence as a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton over the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and radical Islamism.

Two weeks ago, at his confirmation hearing, Pompeo emphasised that Russia is one of the “main threats” to the US and categorically rejected using torture during interrogations by US intelligence agencies, statements that were at odds with those made by Trump during his campaign.

Pompeo received his education at West Point, serving in the US military from 1986-1991, and graduated from Harvard Law School, joining the House of Representatives in 2011 on the Tea Party wave.

Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 11-10 earlier in the day to support former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and send the nomination to the full Senate for all-but-certain approval.

All 11 Republicans on the panel supported GOP President Donald Trump’s pick, while the 10 Democratic members voted against the oilman.

–IANS

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