If confirmed as secretary of state, the former Kansas congressman “would become the first person to have served as both the United States’ top spy and top diplomat,” notes The New York Times reporter Scott Shane. “In the new job, Mr. Pompeo would no longer be constrained by the strictures of impartial intelligence analysis…
“He has not moderated his messaging at the CIA. Five months ago, he called Iran a ‘despotic theocracy’ and ‘a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.'” Dangerous words; Pompeo shares the President’s disdain of the US nuclear agreement with Tehran, but Pompeo’s attachment to torture (shared by the woman favored to inherit his job) is equally troubling to human rights defenders.
A commenter at The Northern Echo suggests “Mr. Trump… continues to dominate the international news agenda by stirring up fear, hatred and small-mindedness. The President appears hell bent on creating a world where all nations stoop to the most base behavior, where nothing is off limits, where no one upholds decency, human rights and the rule of law.”
Trump appears to have selected the ideal candidate to serve his nationalist vision. The opening for protest of this latest shuffling of the imperialist deck may prove brief; White House officials say the President indicated it was important to confirm the appointment before his possible high-stakes talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, was quick to urge opposition to promotion of the former CIA director and his deputy. “Those, like Mr. Pompeo, who have expressed Islamophobic views and have been associated with an anti-Muslim hate group, or like Ms. Haspel, who personally oversaw the torture of detainees, should have no role in our nation’s government, let alone at the highest levels of policy-making,” said National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “These appointments have the potential to harm our nation’s image and our relations with key players in the international community.”