The current CIA director is known for his hawkish foreign policy — and for defending Trump at every turn.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the former three-term Republican congressman known for his hawkish stance on Iran and his aggressive grilling of Hillary Clinton over Benghazi, may soon be the next secretary of state.
The New York Times reports that the White House is planning to replace current head of the State Department, Rex Tillerson, who has had a strained relationship with the president and has been in his post for less than a year, with Pompeo. Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and an influential member of the GOP, would then replace Pompeo as the CIA’s leader.
In the 11 months he’s been in his post, Pompeo has quickly developed a close relationship with the president. He gives the president daily intelligence briefings, as well as his thoughts on whatever political or national security issue might be prominent that week.
He’s also faced criticism for letting his loyalty to the White House undermine his duties as head of the CIA. For instance, he’s repeatedly misrepresented the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian influence in the 2016 election — stating the intelligence community concluded it had no effect on the final result, when in reality it made no judgments on that.
If reports of the shake-up are true, Pompeo would bring his more hawkish worldview to the State Department. He’s supported keeping the US prison at Guantanamo Bay open, defended the CIA’s use of torture in the past, and sees Iran and “radical Islamic terrorism” as top national security threats — all positions closely aligned with those of Trump.
That suggests Pompeo will hew closer to Trump’s worldview than Tillerson has, which has complicated implications for US foreign policy.