Michael Richard Pompeo (born December 30, 1963) is an American politician and businessman who is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Previously, he was the U.S. Representative for Kansas's 4th congressional district from 2011–17. He was a member of the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party. He was a Kansas representative on the Republican National Committee and a member of the Italian American Congressional Delegation. On November 18, 2016, he was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate 66–32 on January 23, 2017.
Education, and early career
Pompeo was born in Orange, California, the son of Dorothy (née Mercer) and Wayne Pompeo. He is of Italian ancestry. His paternal grandmother was born in Caramanico Terme. While living in nearby Santa Ana, California he attended Los Amigos High School in the adjacent city of Fountain Valley, California where he played power forward on the basketball team, graduating in 1982. He then attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he majored in mechanical engineering, graduating first in his class in 1986 and subsequently serving in the Army as an Armor Branch cavalry officer from 1986 to 1991. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He then worked as a lawyer for Williams & Connolly.
He served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division.
Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace and Private Security. In 2006 he sold his interest in Thayer (which was renamed Nex-Tech Aerospace). He became the President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company.
U.S. House of Representatives
In the 2010 Kansas Republican primary for the 4th District Congressional seat, Pompeo defeated State Senator Jean Schodorf (who received 24%), Wichita businessman Wink Hartman (who received 23%), and small business owner Jim Anderson (who received 13%). State Senator Dick Kelsey also ran for the nomination, but ended his campaign before the August primary and endorsed Pompeo. Late in the primary, Schodorf began to surge, prompting two outside groups—Americans for Prosperity and Common Sense Issues, an Ohio-based political group—to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the final campaign days to attack Schodorf and support Pompeo.
In the general election, Pompeo defeated Democratic nominee State Representative Raj Goyle. Pompeo received 59% of the vote (117,171 votes), to 36% for Goyle (71,866).
During the campaign, Pompeo received $80,000 in donations from Koch Industries and its employees.
In his 2012 re-election bid, Pompeo defeated Democratic nominee Robert Tillman by a margin of 62%–32%.
Pompeo won the general election, defeating Democrat Perry Schuckman, with 66.7% of the vote.
Pompeo won the general election with 60.6% of the vote.
Pompeo has been on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the following 3 subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, and the Subcommittee on the CIA. He was also on the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.
On November 18, 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Pompeo to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 23, 2017, with a vote of 66–32. The sole Republican vote against him came from Rand Paul of Kentucky. He was sworn in on the same night by Vice President Mike Pence. On February 8, 2017 President Trump outlined the 24 members of the Cabinet with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency being newly included.
In February 2017, Pompeo traveled to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss policy on Syria and ISIL. Pompeo honored the (then) Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Nayef with the CIA's "George Tenet" Medal. It was the first reaffirmation of ties between the Islamic monarchy and United States since President Trump took office in January 2017.
In August 2017, The Washington Post reported that Pompeo had taken direct command of the Counterintelligence Mission Center, the department which helped to launch an investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Energy and environment
On May 9, 2013, Pompeo introduced the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900; 113th Congress).
The bill placed a 12-month deadline on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, requiring it to approve or reject any proposal for a natural gas pipeline within that timeframe. The bill passed the House along party lines but was not voted on in the Senate.
Speaking about climate change in 2013, he said: "There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There's some who think we're warming, there's some who think we're cooling, there's some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment."
Pompeo has referred to the Obama Administration's environment and climate change plans as "damaging" and "radical". He opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and supports eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas registry program. He has said that Obama's Clean Power Plan does not provide "any measurable environmental benefit."
He signed the Americans for Prosperity's No Climate Tax pledge. He has called for the elimination of wind power production tax credits, calling them an "enormous government handout". He predicted a new energy bill would cost millions of jobs and make the United States a net food importer.
Pompeo is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, which has endorsed him.
Pompeo opposed the Affordable Care Act.
Genetically modified foods
Pompeo opposes requiring food suppliers to label food made with genetically modified organisms, and to that end in April 2014 introduced the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" to block states from requiring mandatory GMO food labeling.
Pompeo supported the U.S. federal government shutdown of 2013, blaming President Obama while acknowledging that the Republican Party could take a hit from the shutdown. He stated that he believed the shutdown was necessary to avoid a predicted "American financial collapse 10 years from now."
In January 2014, Pompeo voted against a two-year budget deal drafted by Paul Ryan that would avert any government shutdown until 2015 and cut deficits by $23 billion.
Pompeo introduced the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013 into the House on May 7, 2013.
Pompeo was critical of President Obama, whom he repeatedly alleged was indecisive and not appropriately respectful of military leaders such as General McChrystal, who was forced to submit his resignation for having made negative comments about the president to Michael Hastings (1980–2013) from Rolling Stone magazine (The Runaway General). Pompeo accused Obama of "unforgivably fail[ing] to provide the total commitment of our national means to our servicemen in the field."
Pompeo supports the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, characterizing the agency's efforts as "good and important work." In March 2014, Pompeo denounced NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's inclusion in the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, and called for Snowden's invitation to speak via telecast at the annual Texas event to be withdrawn, lest it encourage "lawless behavior" among attendees. In February 2016, Pompeo said Snowden "should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence." But he has spoken in favor of reforming the Federal Records Act, one of the laws under which Snowden was charged, saying it "clearly needs updating to reflect the different ways information is communicated and stored."
Pompeo has advocated for rolling back post-Snowden surveillance reforms, saying "Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection."
On July 21, 2015, Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged the existence of secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA on procedures for inspection and verification of Iran's nuclear activities under the Iran nuclear deal. The Obama administration denied any clandestine or secret actions.
Administration officials acknowledged the existence of agreements between Iran and the IAEA governing the inspection of sensitive military sites, but denied the characterization that they were "secret side deals", calling them standard practice in crafting arms-control pacts and arguing the administration had provided information about them to Congress.
In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Pompeo said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are "potentially complicit" in the attacks. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Pompeo to revise his remarks, calling them "false and irresponsible".
Pompeo opposes closing Guantánamo Bay detention camp. After a 2013 visit to the prison, Pompeo said, of the prisoners who were on hunger strike, "It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight."
Pompeo has criticized the Obama administration's decision to end the CIA's secret prisons (so-called "black sites"), and the administration's requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.
In a 2017 speech addressing CSIS, Pompeo referred to Wikileaks as "a non-state hostile intelligence service" and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward.
"... we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.
... Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent. Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values."