U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall released the following statement Monday after voting against confirming U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):
“America draws strength from our values, and Americans put their lives on the line every day to defend those values. I believe that Congressman Pompeo’s views on a set of fundamental questions – including human rights, constitutional rights, and the rule of law – will undercut our nation’s moral authority and undermine our national security. For those reasons, I must oppose Congressman Pompeo’s nomination as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“Though I respect his background and service to the country, I believe that Congressman Pompeo’s views on several key issues put him at odds with our nation’s core values of promoting civil liberties, the rule of law, and human rights. Congressman Pompeo supports invasive and unconstitutional government spying programs that violate the privacy of law-abiding American citizens. He has defended the use of torture programs – programs that were a stain on our history, contrary to our principles as a nation, and fundamentally ineffective. Congressman Pompeo says that he wants the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which is a potent recruiting tool for terrorists and hurts our standing around the world, to remain open, and he thinks detainees can be imprisoned indefinitely. And he has made extremely troubling comments about Muslims, stating that Muslim leaders who have no involvement in terrorism are nonetheless ‘potentially complicit’ in acts of terror, even when Muslims across the globe have strongly condemned the violence of extremists.
“The Central Intelligence Agency is an essential pillar of our national security. Every day, the men and women who serve at the CIA work tirelessly and courageously to keep our nation safe. These patriots – and the American people – deserve a CIA director who will lead the agency in a way that keeps America secure and keeps our fundamental values as a nation secure. As we undertake the serious work of protecting our homeland, we can never forget the founding principles that make America the strongest and greatest nation on earth.”
Udall also spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the confirmation of Pompeo as CIA Director. The full text of Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery can be found below.
“Mr. President, I rise today to oppose the confirmation of Congressman Mike Pompeo as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“I respect Congressman Pompeo’s background and service to our nation. However, I strongly believe that his positions on at least three key issues undermine his qualifications to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
“First, he has supported broad surveillance programs that allowed the government to spy on the American people, programs that were far-reaching, invasive, and violated law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights to privacy.
“These programs were hastily passed as part of the PATRIOT Act in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I was one of only 66 members to vote against the PATRIOT Act in the House of Representatives. Since then we’ve learned, through reviews by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, as well as the unauthorized disclosure of the programs by Edward Snowden, that these programs did go too far. The government collected massive amounts of personal cell phone information with no probable or reasonable cause to justify the collection. And the PATRIOT Act was used to obtain hotel records, car rental records, apartment leasing records, credit card records, and other personal information. And, while the government collected personal information from innocent Americans, there is no credible evidence that it made us more secure.
“A majority of the American public opposed the surveillance program. They understood it went too far – violated our basic American right to privacy.
“So, Congress responded and passed the USA FREEDOM Act, bipartisan legislation to rein in the surveillance programs. Congressman Pompeo was skeptical of the USA FREEDOM Act, and he introduced his own bill to resume and expand the spying programs.
“Mr. President, I believe in strong national security. And I have consistently supported our military and our national labs, to ensure that we have the strongest and most effective defense in the world. However, in the United States of America, we protect national security and our constitutional rights. The United States is not a police state. The U.S. Constitution protects us against overreaching invasions of privacy.
“Congress struck an appropriate balance in the USA FREEDOM Act between security and civil liberties. I hope the new administration will not try to return to mass surveillance programs that don’t work, aren’t supported by the American public, and invade our civil liberties.
“Second, Congressman Pompeo’s views on torture are deeply concerning. He has stated that the so-called enhanced interrogation programs used by the CIA in the Bush administration ‘were within the law, within the constitution.’ They were not. They violated federal law prohibiting ‘torture.’ And they violated the U.N. Convention on Torture and the Geneva Conventions, treaties the U.S. signed and became federal law.
“Programs of torture were a stain on our nation’s history, and contrary to our values as Americans. Beyond the legality of these programs, any CIA Director must understand that the use of torture is ineffective. It yields bad intelligence, which makes it harder for our analysts to do their jobs.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000 page classified report, issued in December 2014, concludes: ‘The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.’ This finding is from the publicly-available executive summary from the report.
“On key national security issues, like the use of torture, the new administration’s top appointees must speak with one voice. Secretary of Defense Mattis has disavowed the use of torture. His many years of experience, training, and leading troops have taught him that torture does not work.
“Americans go to war, and risk and sacrifice their lives, to preserve our deeply-held values. We cannot be engaged in conduct antithetical to those values at the same time. We must lead by example.
“Finally, if America uses torture, we have no moral authority to stop foreign countries or terrorists from torturing Americans. We can never give implicit license to others to brutalize our soldiers.
“President Obama banned the use of torture in 2009. Again, I hope we will not be forced into debate about whether to return to the use of inhumane interrogation techniques that don’t work, and that undermine what we stand for as a nation.
“Third, Congressman Pompeo has expressed that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility should remain open. And he has said he believes detainees can be imprisoned indefinitely. The continued use of Guantanamo Bay prison and indefinite detention are at odds with our nation’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
“There is no place in America’s traditions under the Constitution or under international norms for indefinite detention without trial or adjudication. Guantanamo Bay hurts America’s standing around the world. It is a recruiting tool for terrorists. And it is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.
“Again, we must strike an appropriate balance between national security and America’s fundamental principles. We cannot take actions to preserve American values that at the same time are opposite those very same values.
“Finally, Congressman Pompeo’s views on Muslims are troubling. He has stated that Muslim leaders are ‘potentially complicit’ in acts of terrorism if they don’t condemn it.
“Muslim leaders around the world have condemned extremists’ violence. Muslims around the world strongly condemn such acts.
“Accusing Muslim leaders of complicity in acts of terrorism that they have nothing to do with, that they oppose – is not acceptable speech from a director of a national security agency.
“In conclusion, I want to underscore that I have nothing but respect for the men and women who work in the Central Intelligence Agency. They are true patriots who work hard every day – at personal risk – to keep our nation secure. These patriots deserve a leader who will keep our nation secure and secure our nation’s basic values.
“In defense of America, in the name of national security, we must protect Americans’ constitutional rights, the rule of law, and human rights.
“I believe that Congressman Pompeo’s views do not hold with American values. His positions will not keep America safe. I think they could undermine our security.
“For these reasons, I must oppose Congressman Pompeo’s nomination as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”