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Kiriakou writes: "There are some things we can do. We can write our members of Congress and demand that they hold the CIA and its new director to both the letter and the spirit of the law. Torture is illegal. That isn't going to change."

Representative Mike Pompeo, a hawkish Republican from Kansas, rose to prominence during the investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. (photo: Drew Angerer/NYT)
Representative Mike Pompeo, a hawkish Republican from Kansas, rose to prominence during the investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. (photo: Drew Angerer/NYT)

We Can Confront Torture Advocate Michael Pompeo

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

21 November 16


resident-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Rep. Michael Pompeo (R-Kan.) sends a crystal clear message that Trump was telling the American people the truth when he said that he would bring back the torture program and do “a hell of a lot worse.” Pompeo himself said that CIA officers who engaged in torture “are not torturers. They are patriots.” The only conclusion one can draw is that Trump intends to return the CIA to the dark days of the Bush administration. And this is despite the fact that torture is illegal under the Federal Torture Act, the United Nations Conventions Against Torture, and the McCain-Feinstein Amendment.

Pompeo’s nomination was something of a surprise. Although he supported and endorsed Trump during the Republican primaries, he was not a player in the campaign, he is not one of the more prominent members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), where he served only three years, and he was not among the names being circulated among “people in the know” in Washington for CIA Director. But Trump apparently likes West Point graduates, who are more likely to say, “Yes, sir” than they are to say, “Mr. President, let me tell you why that’s a bad idea.” Pompeo is a yes man with credentials. He graduated first in his class at the U.S. Military Academy, and then went to Harvard Law School before going into business and politics.

Pompeo also has towed the Tea Party line on national security issues since being elected to Congress in 2010. He called NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden “a traitor” and in an interview on C-SPAN added, “he 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.” Pompeo was a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, where he said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “failed to lead,” despite the fact that his committee’s leadership had found that the former secretary had done nothing wrong related to Benghazi. And he wants to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay open, calling it “the right option for American security” and “an important asset that must remain open.” He said after a visit to Guantanamo that he had seen the detainees there and that he wants them “right where they are.”

Further afield, Pompeo has said that he supports dragnet surveillance against American citizens, including NSA interception of all U.S. metadata, voicemails, emails, and text messages. He wants this information housed along with “lifestyle information” on Americans in a database that would be accessible to all U.S. law enforcement, something more akin to Orwell’s Big Brother than any other politician has put forth. He criticized his Congressional colleagues for rolling back some of NSA’s warrantless wiretapping programs in the aftermath of the Snowden disclosures, and added that the lone wolf attacks in San Bernardino in 2015 were a result of Congress not allowing NSA to do its job. Pompeo apparently has never commented publicly on the civil liberties and legal questions at play when a U.S. intelligence agency spies on American citizens.

So what can be done about a far-right activist CIA director serving a far-right president and being overseen by far-right Congressional committees? For us average citizens, not much, unfortunately.

But there are some things we can do. We can write our members of Congress and demand that they hold the CIA and its new director to both the letter and the spirit of the law. Torture is illegal. That isn’t going to change. If the CIA engages in torture, its leadership must be brought to task. If the Justice Department won’t file charges against torturers and those who order the torture, then maybe foreign courts will, just like Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who filed charges of human rights violations against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. We can write, speak out, and march against human rights and legal violations. We can initiate direct actions. And perhaps most importantly, if we have standing, we can sue, bog the CIA down in litigation, and force as much of the information as possible into the glare of the public spotlight.

Pompeo’s nomination is a bad thing. But it’s not the end of the world. We just have to be ready for a fight.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

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+25 # tedrey 2016-11-21 23:25
For reasons now apparent, presidential candidates should have to annnounce their cabinet and upper agency picks *before* the election, rather than afterwards. It's the only way to be sure of what they really intend to do in office.
-7 # HowardMH 2016-11-22 10:31
Where is the Bundy bunch when they are needed – now that they are free?
The American Spring will start when there are thousands of really, really pissed off people at the Capital (with 2x2s and baseball bats) all at the same time raising some serious hell against the Lunatics, and idiots absolutely nothing is ever, ever going to happen to these totally bought and paid for by the richest 400 families in the world that are becoming more and more powerful with each passing rigged election thanks to the stupid people.

So, scream, yell, chant, stomp your feet, threaten to hold your breath, and beat your drums so the media can show it on the evening news, while all of those who can actually do anything about it are home counting their donation money and laughing all the way to the bank.

How is that Hopie Changie been working out for you so far?

Yes there is still hope for the America we used to know, but I agree it is fading fast.
+4 # StuBones1960 2016-11-22 17:34
You're kidding, right? The Bundy's are on his side.
-1 # HowardMH 2016-11-23 12:44
Oh Shit, thanks for the info.
0 # babaregi 2016-11-21 23:25
What Der Fuhrer says about Trump!
+1 # tedrey 2016-11-21 23:35
NOTE: The link to the following article on RSN (Donald Trump met with Bernie Sanders supporter Tulsi Gabbard to discuss Syria) is currently not live. The article is worth reading.

I have put up the live link here:
+4 # janie1893 2016-11-22 02:18
Please tell Trump and Pompeo that torture hurts and is not productive. The Spanish Inquisition found that out a few centuries ago but rather than admit it was a useless act, they kept doing it.
Surely Pompeo is smarter than that (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome!)
+8 # Caliban 2016-11-22 02:33
If sufficient malice is combined with an equal lack of moral judgement, then the torturer emerges and goes about his or her desperate and horrific work.

This looks to start happening big time in 2017.
+9 # economagic 2016-11-22 07:36
"Surely Pompeo is smarter than that (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome!)"

There seems to be zero evidence that he is, or that many of the others who set policy in DC are.
+3 # lfeuille 2016-11-22 16:41
I imagine he enjoys it. Efficacy is secondary.
+8 # John S. Browne 2016-11-22 03:11

What is there to say? The U.S. has sunk to the lowest of lows. We have "Hitleresque" people running, who want to run, or who will be running "our" government. Anything goes with them. Nothing is off limits. It doesn't matter how depraved it is, it is supposedly "okay". And we just see and hear worse and worse, and more and more evil, being "justified" and put into effect. Very similar to what the Germans and the world observed taking over Germany and Europe in the 1920s and '30s. People who faced reality, and were outspoken about it, expressed fear of what was coming. Well, we should be expressing fear about what is coming in the U.S. and the world at the hands of "Hitleresque" leaders like Trump, and an increasingly authoritarian and totalitarian fascist government like we have today.

(Continued below)
+7 # John S. Browne 2016-11-22 03:50

With the U.S. being so much larger than Germany was back then, it is going to be so much worse in the U.S., the West and the world at the hands of "our" global "1984-like" militarized police and enslavement state. The Nazis loved torture, and now our "fearless leaders" in the U.S. and the global government slave state love torture. It is going to be Nazi Germany on steroids, so much worse in orders of magnitude, a hundred times worse. This global(ist) government and its ideologues want us all, and the entire world, completely subjugated as the people were in Orwell's book, '1984', where all those who didn't blindly bow down and conform, and remain willing, mindless automatons, were tortured, usually to death. That is what is coming in reality, today if we don't stop it.

(Continued below)
+7 # John S. Browne 2016-11-22 03:51

These "Hitleresque" sickos don't care about human and civil rights. They want to run, and are running, roughshod over the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and international human rights law(s). Again, anything goes with them. They don't care how many millions, and eventually billions, of innocent people they mass-murder, anymore than the Third Reich Nazis cared about how many millions of innocent people they exterminated. The global(ist) "Fourth Reich" deep state shadow government has taken over the U.S. and the West, taking them over more and more since 1946, working towards turning them into what they are now being turned into, one vast totalitarian militarized corporate-fasci st state, Hitlers dreams realized on steroids. A panopticon "matrix" surveillance and control reality far surpassing Orwell's '1984'.

(Continued below)
+7 # John S. Browne 2016-11-22 03:52

We are so fracked, but most of us don't realize even a fraction of how fracked we are, if we don't put a complete stop to this globalist fascist madness. Racists and torturers are in charge again, as they were in Nazi Germany, and all of the stops are being pulled out in order to realize global empire's domination and subjugation dreams far surpassing Hitler's and the Third Reich Nazi's dreams. Theirs was but a trial run that wasn't meant to fully succeed; but today's "Fourth Reich" run for global imperialist control and enslavement knows no bounds. The latter's present-day fulfilling of their horrific and monstrous dream(s) is no trial run; it is the realization of their long-planned, totally-insane "final, 'final solution'".

+4 # Anonymot 2016-11-22 06:55
Kiriakou is right. Unfortunately, as David Talbot puts it in his brilliant book THE DEVIL'S CHESSBOARD,, the CIA is the "steel fist" of our Deep State government. It should be dismantled and the entire espionage/secur ity apparatus rebuilt from scratch. Since they own the Establishment of both parties and because Trump is an Establishment rebel, the CIA Director was an opportunity for Trump to show his independence and make a real difference. Unfortunately, he did not.

We don't expect a Sanders supporter to be named to head the CIA, he would be ignored, but Pompeo is going to the other extreme.

At a minimum, Trump should put him on a very, very short leash. In recent years, CIA Directors have not lasted very long. May Pomous set a record for brevity.
+1 # MD426 2016-11-22 09:36
Trump took his opportunity to make a real difference. And this is it. He has no interest in keeping Pompeo on a short leash. His selection of Pompeo was deliberate and purposeful.
0 # Anonymot 2016-11-22 13:39
On what do you base that?
+2 # MD426 2016-11-23 06:49
If His appointments and nominations aren't deliberate and purposeful, do you think they are accidental and random? How would you characterize these actions?
Do you think these choices are meaningless/ or whimsical? He has made his intentions clear since day one. The "normalization" of Trump is a fantasy.
+1 # Anonymot 2016-11-23 14:17
Hi. I think we've met before and mostly agree. Of course they are deliberate & purposeful, but when someone in the power position makes his choice it can (& I stress can) be because of a base reason with the dominant one making conditions. Trump knows perfectly well that the CIA has been the tool that runs the country and he has to put a thug in it as Director. Nevertheless, he may make someone like Pompeo agree that certain things - like torture - NOT occur during his watch. That would have allowed him to make his comment today with the NYT that he was not going to tolerate torture.

Remember, the CIA has been in charge of the country for 25 years and their candidate Clinton just got beaten. What's important here is not the loss of the Hillary, but of Deep State of which they were members.

Everyone is excited about how Trump will organize his mess. I'm concerned about how Deep State will try to organize getting its control back.
+4 # economagic 2016-11-22 07:43
Unfortunately one of my senators is an ardent advocate of torture (Burr, NC) and the other is an ugly TP nitwit with a big grin. Burr had a decent opponent who ran a good campaign but was tarred by outside money with Koch connections for her work for the ACLU. Many Americans, especially in the Deep South, still think civil rights are for themselves only. Fortunately my Rep, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is a good guy who steadfastly opposed the TPP.

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