The US Senate confirmed Representative Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump's CIA director
Sixty-six senators backed Pompeo and 32 voted against. All the opposition was from Democrats, except for Senator Rand Paul, a leading Republican advocate for strict control of surveillance. Shortly afterward, Mr Pompeo was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence.
Some senators felt Director Pompeo, 53, had not pledged strongly enough to allow only the use of interrogation techniques included in the Army Field Manual, as required by law, rather than return to waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” or EITs, used by the CIA in the years after the September 11 attacks.
President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, signed an executive order in 2009 banning waterboarding – a form of simulated drowning – and other EITs, which are denounced by many politicians and rights groups as torture.
In response to written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director Pompeo said he was open to changing policy under certain circumstances.
“I will consult with experts… on whether the Army Field Manual uniform application is an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country.” Director Pompeo wrote.
President Trump promised during his presidential campaign to bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse”.
Sixty-six senators backed Pompeo and 32 voted against
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden spoke for more than an hour in the Senate in opposition to Director Pompeo's nomination, saying he had provided inconsistent answers on surveillance and interrogation tactics, making it impossible to know how he would implement policy at the CIA.
Senator Wyden cited an op-ed Director Pompeo co-authored last year that called for restarting the bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata and combining it with financial and lifestyle information into one searchable database.
Mr Pompeo was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence
He accused Director Pompeo of having proposed “the most sweeping new surveillance program I have ever heard of.”
Senator Paul wrote in an op-ed: “I voted against the new CIA Director because I worry that his desire for security will trump his defence of liberty.”
Trump's Cabinet Picks
Tue, December 13, 2016
President-elect Donald J. Trump has began announcing cabinet-level positions, here's the latest list of appointments
1 of 17
Most Republicans called Director Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, an excellent choice.
Senator John McCain, a leader of the fight for legislation barring the use of the rough interrogation methods, said: “I have no reason to doubt Congressman Pompeo's word.”
Senator McCain added: “I fully support his confirmation. Going forward, I will continue to closely monitor this issue, and use my oversight powers to ensure the law is obeyed.”