As it is slowly settling in for the US population that Donald Trump is going to be the next president, the soon-to-be president has made several announcements about who is going to be serving in his administration. Despite running on a campaign platform that heavily criticized the so-called “establishment” as incompetent and incapable of getting things done, Trump seems to be bringing the establishment into key positions within his cabinet.
Let’s start with Mike Pompeo, whom has been recently tapped as Trump’s director of the CIA. Pompeo’s background is extremely prestigious including degrees from West Point and Harvard, serving as an Army tank officer, being deployed in Germany during the final days of the Cold War, and serving in Congress as a Representative from Kansas. Pompeo is clearly qualified to run the Central Intelligence Agency, but why did Trump choose him? Some have suggested that his role in the investigation into the Benghazi scandal, which resulted in a US ambassador dying, was a significant factor in Trump choosing him. During the inquiry into the scandal, Pompeo questioned Hillary Clinton relentlessly, raising his credibility among Republicans. Also, he has regularly suggested that there was a cover-up by President Obama and Hillary Clinton in regards to the Benghazi scandal, much to the pleasure of Republicans.
Although Pompeo has strong credentials and credibility among the majority party to serve as the director of the CIA, his views strongly demonstrate that he may not be the person we need serving in that position. Some of his most controversial viewpoints include insisting the US returns to the bulk collection of America’s domestic phone records and believing the US government should bring back CIA “black-site prisons”. In other words, undoing all the progress that the Obama administration has made in these areas. Additionally, Pompeo has stated he does not think government interrogators should be required to abide by the Army Field Manual. So, basically our future CIA director believes interrogators should not follow protocol. I find that immensely offensive considering this guy is a former Army officer himself.
Oh but we must not forget about what happened during his campaign run to Congress: one of his aides urged their social media followers to read a post that referred to his competitor, Raj Goyle, as a “turban topper”. The post also referred to Obama as an “evil Muslim communist”. Yes, Pompeo did issue an apology later and it was not he who directly guided people to the racist post, but Pompeo’s judgment can surely be questioned. He decided to surround himself with an aide that clearly possesses some racial biases. Does the US really want a CIA director that has this kind of resume?
Taking over arguably the most powerful agency in the world requires a certain temperament where one is completely impartial and unbiased at all times, but I cannot say for sure that Pompeo is. He has a track record of taking a hardline Republican stance when it comes to privacy and Civil Liberty matters, something I cannot ignore. Pompeo is in prime position to implement his views as the CIA director, which could send the US into a state of regression. We have made so much progress by straying away from the bulk collection of citizen’s phone data along with closing prisons that obviously violate a person’s Civil Liberties; however, I fear Pompeo is the wrong guy to continue that progress. Everyone may be scared of Trump, but the people who he surrounds himself with will be the telling factor into the kind of administration he will run.
–Contributed by R.A.