Pompeo a hawk on North Korea and Iran

Mr Mike Pompeo
Mr Mike Pompeo

WASHINGTON • Trump loyalist Mike Pompeo regularly briefs US President Donald Trump on intelligence matters, and is considered one of the most hawkish voices on North Korea in the President's inner circle.

Mr Pompeo, 54, has downplayed the extent of Russia's intervention in the 2016 US presidential election, saying Moscow has sought to influence American elections for decades.

In February, he pushed back against suggestions that a visit to the United States by Russian intelligence chiefs had contributed to the Trump administration's delay in imposing fresh sanctions on Moscow, saying that US officials "pull no punches" when sitting down with their Russian counterparts.

Like Mr Trump, he is an outspoken critic of Iran, and has called for scrapping the 2015 deal curbing Teheran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

In October, he said Iran was "mounting a ruthless drive to be the hegemonic power in the region".

Mr Pompeo has been accused of Islamophobia for remarks he made following the deadly 2013 Boston marathon bombing, BBC reported. He told Congress in 2013 that the silence from Muslim leaders on acts of violence committed by extremists was "deafening".

"Instead of responding, silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts and, more importantly still, in those that may well follow," he said.

Before taking the reins at the Central Intelligence Agency in January, Mr Pompeo was a conservative Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Kansas. The retired army officer graduated first in his class at West Point, and then from Harvard Law School.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2018, with the headline 'Pompeo a hawk on North Korea and Iran'. Print Edition | Subscribe