According to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President of the United States Donald Trump is helping the agency return to its former glory.
In an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, Pompeo said that in his first six months at the CIA, he’s learned the agency is full of great people, and now they have a president who’s going allow them to do their jobs.
Pompeo says President Donald J. Trump has ordered the agency to give CIA operatives “the authority and capacity” that reflect the traditions of the CIA , hearkening back to a time when the agency was at its best.
He said the president is in close communications with him, seeking answers and offering support for the agency.
“And so when you say, ‘Mr. President we’ve got work to do on that one,’ he says: ‘What do you need to get it done?'” Pompeo told the Beacon. “And he has been willing to give us the scope and the authority to go do it.”
Pompeo says the CIA will be different under the Trump administration because it is giving authority back to the agents in the field — allowing them to better accomplish their mission.
The Trump administration is also working with the CIA to clarify guidance, which increases a mission’s chances of success. According to Pompeo, in instances where the CIA has gone to the president and laid out a mission, Trump has given them the authorization they need.
Pompeo said the primary mission of the CIA is foreign intelligence. They must have the ability to collect information in difficult places and against difficult targets. He said his team is excited by the president’s willingness to let them do the job they signed up to do.
Pompeo also discussed an internal review he did recently — looking at current policies, including those implemented under the last administration and analyzed their effectiveness.
“But inside CIA itself we took about 60 days to look at the changes that had been made, the so-called modernization. Pieces of it made sense and were consistent with what the president and my mission are at the CIA. Other pieces I thought weren’t working as well. And so we have reshaped it. Some of it’s subtle. An enormous set of layers were put in place as a result of the modernization. We’re going to beat the bureaucratic piece of this to let our warriors and our spies on the front line go do their jobs.”
Pompeo said Russian interference is real, but explained that it’s “a decades-old challenge for America.” He says Russia actively seeks to “shape world public opinion” using various methods, some obvious and some not.
“That threat is going to be constant,” Pompeo said. “We have an obligation to push back, defeat it, to work to make it painful for them so that they’ll reduce the magnitude of what they’re doing.”
Pompeo thinks its still a good idea to work with the Russians to defeat terrorism. “They might have information that we need. It seems to me if we can find a way to share counterterrorism information with them, we ought to.”
Pompeo also discussed Chinese intelligence threats. Although he wouldn’t comment on any specifics, he said the Chinese have an active intelligence campaign in the U.S. that has been progressing for a long time.
“They have as part of their mission to reduce the relative power of the United States vis-à-vis their own country,” Pompeo stated. “And one of the ways they do that is through these active measures, these spying efforts.”
When asked what poses the most immediate threat to the U.S., Pompeo said terrorism and North Korea.
“North Korea is relatively low-probability, but massive liability risk. The terrorist threat today is non-nuclear. But different and in greater magnitude and in more places around the world. So they’re very different threats and our response has to be different. But each of them is on top of us today. So near term I’d place those two at the top.”
He also said China, Russia and Iran pose a threat to the U.S., in terms of rivalry, but said China was probably the highest threat.
“I think China has the capacity to present the greatest rivalry to America of any of those over the medium and long term,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo explained that President Trump has made it clear he won’t let N. Korea get to a point where they are a threat. With N. Korea working on creating a nuclear warhead, Pompeo says Trump is focused on making sure “this particular leader doesn’t have those particular weapons.”
“For 20 years previous administrations have just whistled past the graveyard on this,” Pompeo said.
To face the challenge, Pompeo says, “We created a mission center designed to address the threat from the North Korean government to the world and we are looking at every piece of the agency’s operations, whether it’s foreign intelligence collection, covert operations, the capacity to assist our brothers in arms at the DoD.”
He says the CIA is prepared to deliver Trump a set of options for achieving his policy objective in N. Korea, and anywhere else.
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 selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be the nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate 66–32 on January 23, 2017.
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.
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