Washington Week

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6 Things to Know About...Mike Pompeo

By Joan Greve and Jenna Goff

Washington Week Fellows


In a string of staff announcements Friday, President-elect Donald Trump announced that Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo will serve as his director of the Central Intelligence Agency, pending Senate approval. While Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, Pompeo’s House colleague from across the aisle, described him as “bright and hard-working,” the Kansas lawmaker could face questions on his ties to the Benghazi investigation and views on intelligence-gathering.


Mike Pompeo

1.    Pompeo is currently a third term Kansas congressman, where he serves on the Energy and Commerce and the House Intelligence committees. In Congress, Pompeo has sponsored 65 bills. Notably, he supports establishing a federal system for labeling genetically modified food, denies many climate change threats and is anti-gun control.


2.    Pompeo served on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, a controversy that he described as “worse, in some ways” than Watergate. Although the committee did not find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton guilty of any further wrongdoing, Pompeo and a colleague issued a nearly 50-page memorandum accusing the State Department of being “seemingly more concerned with politics and Secretary Clinton’s legacy than with protecting its people in Benghazi.” Schiff cited the "politicization of the tragedy in Benghazi" as a specific point of contention between Pompeo and Democrats, which could become an issue during his confirmation hearings.

3.    Pompeo is staunchly opposed to many of the Obama administration's signature achievements. In July, he published an op-ed on the Fox News website that condemned the Iran nuclear deal for making the US less safe. He supports taking a stronger, more forceful stance to “change Iranian behavior, and ultimately, the Iranian regime.” He also called Obamacare a “trainwreck” in a 2013 USA Today column.

4.    Pompeo’s background is not based completely in government; he also has experience in business. He founded the company Thayer Aerospace, which provides components for commercial and military aircraft, and served as the president of Sentry International, which sells imported oilfield equipment to US distributors, until he was elected to Congress in 2010.


5.    After graduating first in his class from West Point, Pompeo served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Berlin Wall before its fall in 1989. He then went on to get a degree from Harvard Law School.


6.    Pompeo has voiced support of the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection, which was extensively rolled back by Congress in 2015. The program came under scrutiny following the 2013 revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, but Pompeo has argued that such programs are not only  “lawful and constitutional, but also consistent with the critical mission of defeating radical Islamic terrorism.”

See how Trump's administration is taking shape: 

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
Chief strategist: Stephen Bannon
Chief of staff: Reince Priebus
National Security adviser: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Agriculture secretary:
Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross
Defense secretary: Gen. James Mattis
Education secretary: Betsy DeVos
Energy secretary:
Health and Human Services secretary: Tom Price
Homeland Security secretary: Gen. John Kelly
Housing and Urban Development secretary: Ben Carson
Secretary of state:
Interior secretary:
Treasury secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao
Veteran Affairs secretary:
EPA administrator: Scott Pruitt