WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – President-elect Donald Trump has offered the CIA director job to Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, who has heavily criticized the Iran deal and was a member of the congressional committee that blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya.
Pompeo, 52, was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010. He has been a fierce critic of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which granted Tehran sanctions relief for rolling back its nuclear weapons program.
Pompeo has said that Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks if they do not denounce those made in the name of Islam. “They must cite the Koran as evidence that the murder of innocents is not permitted,” he said in a 2013 House floor speech.
A member of the House intelligence committee, Pompeo called former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s actions “lawless,” referring to Snowden’s cataloguing of surveillance programs that found the U.S. government collected the phone records of millions of Americans.
In 2014, he was appointed to the House Select Benghazi Committee to probe the 2011 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
Pompeo was born in Orange, California, and lives in Wichita. He enrolled as a teenager at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. and graduated first in his class in 1986. According to biographical information on his House web site, Pompeo served as a “cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was editor of the Harvard Law Review.
After college, he returned to south-central Kansas where his mother had roots. He set up Thayer Aerospace and was its chief executive officer for more than 10 years. Later he was president of Sentry International, a company that sold equipment for oil fields and manufacturing.
Pompeo was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010.
He recently led a House Republican task force that found intelligence assessments approved by senior leaders at U.S. Central Command exaggerated the progress of anti-terrorism efforts they ran against Islamic State militants. House GOP leaders formed the task force after lawmakers learned that an unnamed analyst assigned to the command had filed a formal complaint alleging that intelligence about the Islamic State group had been manipulated.
Pompeo said in a statement this week that no one has “yet been held responsible.”
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee conducted their own inquiry, which found problems but no evidence that intelligence had been politicized. A spokesman for CENTCOM had declined to comment further because the task force and inspector general inquiries are still proceeding.
If the Senate confirms Cong. Pompeo, he could resign his seat in Congress as early as February. If that happens, you can expect a faster election cycle as the political parties prepare for another race to fill his eat.
Should that happen, officials from the Kansas Republican Party say that election won’t happen until possibly next April or May.
Governor Sam Brownback would issue a Certificate of Election and name a date for a special election. That process is slightly different from most congressional elections.
“The parties don’t have a primary, there’s not enough time,” said Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas GOP. “So they pick their candidate through a convention which means party delegates will get together and pick the candidate for each party.”
However, Barker says during he time between Pompeo stepping down and the election, voters in the Kansas Fourth Congressional District won’t have representation at the national level.
“There simply won’t be…it will be a vacant congressional seat for 60 days, which is quite short compared to many states,” Barker said. “Some states go as long as six months, and just leave the congressional seat vacant. Kansas has a prompt system for replacement.”
Even with that, though, Barker says there’s no reason for people to worry.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to be concerned. Mike Pompeo is still the congressman, he’s also the congressman elect, he’ll be sworn in in January as the congressman and he’ll continue with his duties during the confirmation process.”
Barker also says because both parties will know it’s happening this will help the transition happen more smoothly as opposed to a surprise opening, such as someone resigning with no notice or passing away.