In a 66-32 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Pompeo collected some support from Democrats, and the only Republican opposition came from Sen. Rand Paul.
But as CNN reports, a number of Democrats objected to Pompeo’s perspectives on torture—he is not opposed to waterboarding—and electronic surveillance. Sen. Bernie Sanders specifically objected to Pompeo because he favors a thorough and capacious collection of metadata.
“What we are talking about is the United States government having in many ways more information about us than we may even understand about our own life,” he cautioned. “In many ways, it sounds to me like we are moving toward an Orwellian society.”
Pompeo moreover indicated that he may modify policies in order to reincorporate waterboarding and other so-called “enhanced interrogation measures.” Currently, intelligence agents are limited to the techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual. Via CNN:
“‘If confirmed, I will consult with experts at the Agency and at other organizations in the U.S. government on whether the Army Field Manual uniform application is an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country,’ he wrote. ‘If experts believed current law was an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country, I would want to understand such impediments and whether any recommendations were appropriate for changing current law.’”
At last Thursday’s hearing, Pompeo denied his support of torture as a means of interrogation, but of course what constitutes “torture” can be interpreted as narrowly or broadly as is convenient. Democratic senators who opposed Pompeo’s confirmation cited his elliptical responses regarding violent information gathering tactics.
Tonight, zombie fraternity pledge master and vice president Mike Pence hastily conducted the swearing-in ceremony officiating Pompeo’s appointment.
Meanwhile, the list of Democrats who voted for Pompeo’s confirmation is circulating.
But having taken the Oath of Office, we can expect Pompeo to hit the ground running. He cites both China and Russia as “sophisticated adversaries” in terms of cyber security and regards Iran, ISIS, and the Syrian conflict as other significant threats.
“This is the most complicated threat environment the United States has seen in recent memory,” he declared.