Hawkish Pompeo to head CIA

Mr Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has criticised the Iran nuke deal.
Mr Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has criticised the Iran nuke deal.

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump has selected Representative Mike Pompeo, a hawkish Republican from Kansas and a former army officer, to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to officials close to the President-elect's transition team.

Mr Pompeo, 52, has served for three terms in Congress and is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

He gained prominence for his role in the congressional investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. He was a sharp critic of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton on the committee.

He has echoed Mr Trump's criticism of the Iran nuclear deal. In a tweet on Thursday, he wrote: "I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism."

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr Pompeo would take control of a spy agency that has been remade in the years since the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, with a relentless focus on manhunts, counter-terrorism and targeted killing operations.

Over the past year, the CIA has undergone a bureaucratic reorganisation under the current director, Mr John Brennan, an effort Mr Pompeo would decide whether he wants to continue.

According to his congressional website, he graduated first in his class at West Point and "served as an officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall".

After leaving the military, he graduated from Harvard Law School and returned to Kansas, where he went into business and became president of Sentry International, which his website describes as an "equipment manufacturing, distribution and service company".

NYTIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'Hawkish Pompeo to head CIA'. Print Edition | Subscribe