RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Boardman writes: "Mike Pompeo made it clear that he has little regard for truth, for personal decency, or for the Constitutional protections for free speech or for the free exercise of religion."

Mike Pompeo. (photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)
Mike Pompeo. (photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)

CIA Chief Declares War on Truth

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

26 April 17


“… the American people deserve a clear explanation of what their Central Intelligence Agency does on their behalf…. we are an organization committed to uncovering the truth and getting it right…. And sure—we also admit to making mistakes…. But it is always our intention—and duty—to get it right. And that is one of the many reasons why we at CIA find the celebration of entities like WikiLeaks to be both perplexing and deeply troubling.”

– CIA Director Mike Pompeo, April 13, 2017

hile the snippets above provide a reasonable summary of the substance of Mike Pompeo’s first speech as head of the CIA, they don’t begin to capture the full demagoguery of the CIA head’s rambling 3700-word blather of ad hominem attacks, false claims, hyperbolic rhetoric, irrelevancies, straw man arguments, and political deflections. In other words, Pompeo made it clear that he has little regard for truth, for personal decency, or for the Constitutional protections for free speech or for the free exercise of religion. It was an altogether chilling debut for a spy agency head in a country that still imagines itself enjoying some basic freedoms.

Pompeo started with an anecdotal biography of former CIA agent Philip Agee, without mentioning that Agee resigned from the CIA in 1968 and died in 2008. Nor did Pompeo mention that Agee resigned, despite CIA entreaties to stay, because Agee could no longer countenance the Agency’s support for brutal dictatorships across Latin America. Instead of confronting the substance of Agee’s life and actions, Pompeo reiterated the official CIA demonization of the man who founded the anti-CIA magazine Counterspy and revealed many CIA secrets. As the CIA has done for decades, Pompeo blamed Agee for the assassination of CIA agent Richard Welch in Greece in 1975. Barbara Bush made this same claim in her 1994 memoir. After Agee sued her for libel, the claim was removed from the paperback edition.

As a lawyer who knows he can’t libel the dead, Pompeo is unmitigatedly dishonest in his portrait of Agee, concluding it with: “Meanwhile, Agee propped up his dwindling celebrity with an occasional stunt, including a Playboy interview. He eventually settled down as the privileged guest of an authoritarian regime.” That was a reference to Cuba, where Agee died, but until the very end of his life he also spent time in Germany, his wife’s home country. Pompeo utterly fails to meet his duty to get it right. He comes nowhere near the truth, that Agee’s life represents the struggle faced by a man of conscience when he realizes the agency he works for also commits horrendous crimes, not just mistakes. An honest historian would put this account of a man’s life within the context of the US Senate’s 1975 Church Committee, which documented a number of CIA crimes and led, for awhile at least, to significant CIA reform.

Having framed his talk with a false version of Philip Agee, Pompeo spent the rest of it mixing CIA boilerplate promotional material with his main purpose, attacking WikiLeaks on the basis of a big lie:

WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations. It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.

Pompeo offers no analysis or evidentiary support for these assertions. There is no public evidence that WikiLeaks is anything like an intelligence service in purpose, structure, or functioning. According to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, WikiLeaks has the same mission as the Washington Post or New York Times: “to publish newsworthy content. Consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true irrespective of whether sources came by that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media.” The Times famously did that very thing in 1971 when it released the Pentagon Papers, which affirmed the disastrous dishonesty that produced the Vietnam War.

The record of WikiLeaks is the opposite of most any intelligence service, certainly of the CIA. WikiLeaks is available as a resource for people to publish government secrets. WikiLeaks vets the material it is offered and, so far, has never had to make a retraction. Everything WikiLeaks has offered is true. The CIA lies all the time, although not everything it says is false. What Pompeo says about Chelsea Manning looks like a bald-faced lie. But he needs that lie to undercut the reality that Manning was a soldier with a conscience who objected to US random slaughters of Iraqi civilians, men, women, children, journalists.

Pompeo’s reference to “state actors like Russia” is shamelessly hilarious. The best known WikiLeaks project allegedly involving Russia is the massive release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails during the 2016 campaign. These were significantly damaging to Hillary Clinton, and Mike Pompeo at the time was saying things like this:

Well, it’s classic Clinton, right? When you find out you got a problem, you deflect, you deny, you create a contretemps where there really is none. Frankly, it’s pretty clear who invited the Russians to do damage to America, and it was Hillary Clinton. She put classified information on a private server, inviting the Chinese, the Iranians, the Russians, all to have access to it. I hope they didn’t get it, but even the former director of the CIA said he thinks they probably did. So, the person who’s put American national security risk isn’t Donald Trump, it’s Hillary Clinton.

So in July 2016, WikiLeaks was innocent, and Russia was irrelevant? Can you say find the truth and get it right? Can you say serial hypocrite? Or can you say, along with candidate Trump last October, “This just came out. Wikileaks. I love WikiLeaks”?

At the time of Pompeo’s speech, mainstream media paid more attention to the so-called “mother of all bombs” dropped on Afghanistanthan they did to this much more powerful political bombshell dropped on the US. Recently some mainstream media have been taking another look, as in this headline from Newsweek: “CIA CHIEF POMPEO TAKES AIM AT THE FREE PRESS.”

What can and should CIA, the United States, and our allies do about the unprecedented challenge posed by these hostile non-state intelligence agencies?... First, it is high time we called out those who grant a platform to these leakers and so-called transparency activists…. We know the danger that Assange and his not-so-merry band of brothers pose to democracies around the world. Ignorance or misplaced idealism is no longer an acceptable excuse for lionizing these demons.

Once again the high hilarity of the deceitful surfaces in Pompeo’s calling Assange a threat to democracy. If that is in any sense true, then Mike Pompeo owes his CIA job to the success of Assange’s “threat.” The real threat is to those who “grant a platform” to WikiLeaks, and those would be all American media for starters. But the scarier part is that Pompeo is not only comfortable demonizing people like Agee or Assange, he literally calls them “demons,” and this is not standard political talk, this is fundamentalism Christian visualizing the devil’s work. When some of the highest officials in the US government are busy chasing “demons,” then US Constitutional government is at serious risk.

Mike Pompeo, 53, the present director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a West Point trained military veteran, a Harvard trained lawyer, and a self-expressed, profound “Christian” bigot and hypocrite. He has no experience in intelligence. The radical former Tea Party congressman from Kansas was confirmed for his CIA role by a 66-32 Senate vote despite his lengthy, fact-free obsession with the Benghazi attack of 2012, or his avid denial of climate change, or his ardent support for keeping Guantanamo and other torture prisons open (he has called torturers “patriots”). He has advocated covert surveillance to collect “all metadata” on Americans, a program that is currently illegal. Pompeo not only magnifies the threat of terrorists like ISIS, he views that threat through a religious lens and apparently believes in the Manichaean formulation that there is currently “a conflict between the Christian west and the Islamic east.”

After his April 13 address, Pompeo took questions, one of which was about President Trump’s relationship with the CIA and the other 16 agencies in the intelligence community. The question apparently referred to such things as President Trump’s tweets earlier this year, blaming leaks on “the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia” and later saying “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” The supposedly “fake news” had exposed multiple Russian contacts with Trump campaign agents as early as 2015, revelations that led directly to the resignation of Trump national security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn. The question of Russian involvement in electing President Trump remains unresolved.

Despite this context, Pompeo answered the question about the president’s relations with the intelligence community simply: “It’s fantastic.”

The audience laughed. Pompeo added: “Don’t laugh, I mean that.”

Good to know that the head of Central Intelligence believes in fantasy. Reassuring to know that the CIA head wants to “make sure that we know that Jesus Christ our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”

A nation formed by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is now at least partly in the hands of a Christian Taliban.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+18 # myungbluth 2017-04-26 09:54
" all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie."
- Bob Dylan
+53 # engelbach 2017-04-26 10:03
Just as disturbing as the appointment of Pompeo is the fact that a number of Democrats voted to confirm him.

That, and the recent siding of two liberal Supreme Court Justices with the conservative majority in refusing to hear the case of an unarmed man shot in the back by a cop, is more evidence that we cannot count on many of our so-called "friends" in the government.

If the US descends completely into dictatorship, it will be with the help of these traitors.
+16 # Radscal 2017-04-26 17:20
From RSN on January 24, 2017:

The Democrats who voted to confirm Pompeo were:

Joe Donnelly of Indiana

Dianne Feinstein of California

Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

Tim Kaine of Virginia

Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Joe Manchin of West Virginia

Claire McCaskill of Missouri

Jack Reed of Rhode Island

Brian Schatz of Hawaii

Chuck Schumer of New York

Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire

Mark Warner of Virginia

Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
Angus King, the independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, also voted in favor of Pompeo’s confirmation.

Connecticut Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy did not vote.

Primary every one of them as each comes up for reelection.
+7 # dandevries 2017-04-28 17:36
Everyone: Clip that list and magnet it to your refrigerator. Do anything you can to oppose any of them. But particularly Feinstein.
+33 # Dale 2017-04-26 10:44
So when has the CIA EVER done anything but cover its dirty deeds, assasinatlons, terrorist attacks, regime change activity, then deny or lie about it.
+7 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-04-28 07:33
THat's right. Pompeo is not the first lying CIA director. He's just more crass and ignorant about it.
+18 # RMF 2017-04-26 10:44
Of course Pompeo is an execrable person.

And it's seemingly quite bizarre to see the GOP attacking WikiLeaks, an organization that put them in total control of all three branches of govt -- but it's not surprising at all when viewed thorough the lens of spycraft, with a chief tool being judicious application of disinformation campaigns.

Probably the Trump Admin is setting a Guinness record for lying to Americans, now a daily occurrence, rather than in past administrations where lying was reserved for more monumental initiatives, like invading Iraq.

By now it is completely obvious (except to a few naysayers here on RSN) that it was a spycraft partnership with Russia/WikiLeak s that installed the Trumpolini team in power, and it is equally obvious that spycraft will be their chief tool in governing.

And regrettably, other than Flynn getting a striped uniform, I fear not much else is going to come of these GOP-controlled investigations. And with the GOP now having a firm majority on Sup Ct there is little hope for a judicial remedy based on emoluments or other Constitutional issues. Although the GOP Justices pay emphatic lip service to strict construction we will see them swinging for the fence to alter and distort Constitutional or statutory imperatives.

Sadly this could have been avoided had progressive voters paid more attention to the convoluted imperatives of the Electoral College -- sometimes it is better to win than to fight.
+14 # dickbd 2017-04-26 14:14
I don't think that we should jump to conclusions about WikiLeaks being responsible. As I recall, they said the information came from the Clinton campaign.

I voted for Hillary, but I had little faith in her. She has always been a hawk, and her husband was the one who decided we needed "regime change" in Iraq. He instituded "no-fly zones" over Iraq, and that is an act of war.

Let's face it: our country is in trouble. It is in the hands of neocons and neolibs, and both of them love to justify the war machine, as it must be fed.
+7 # Radscal 2017-04-26 17:27
Perhaps you don't recall that recall that Crowdstrike (the private business with direct ties to HRC that was hired by the DNC), is the sole source of the "Russian Hackers" breaking into the DNC servers story. Perhaps you didn't notice that the DNC has still refused to allow the FBI or anyone else to see their servers so as to complete their own investigations.

Recently, Crowdstrike had to walk back its claims after it was shown they were completely wrong about this same situation in Ukraine. The US propaganda organ, Voice of America has an interesting article on that debacle.

Or do you mean the John Podesta emails? He said he left his cell phone in a cab for two days, and fell for a phishing scam.

Either way, all of the data published by WikiLeaks is true and accurate. And as always, if the truth hurts your candidate, that's on her, not the messenger.

A functioning democracy requires an informed electorate. Had the electorate been better informed throughout, we'd not have a President Drumpf or Clinton. We'd have a President Sanders, or maybe one even more progressive and anti-war.
-3 # RMF 2017-04-27 09:38
Radscal -- it's clear you don't know your law -- but phishing is a form of theft and a serious felony. Cong has even adopted special laws to cover that and related forms of cyber-crime.

Here is an analogy directly on point -- next time I find your credit-card that you absent-mindedly left on a restaurant table, I will run right out and buy a new stereo!

In both cases -- phishing and lost credit card -- the use is larceny, a serious felony. In rebuttal, you claim that stealing DNC info is somehow OK because the subsequent publication was truthful, but your claim is specious because that info was private and confidential -- it's called intellectual property.

So there are actually two wrongs involved:

1. wrongful access (breaking and entering) to confidential info -- that is a trespass constituting THEFT.

2. wrongful use by publication of private info without permission -- that unauthorized use is also THEFT.

If WikiLeaks came by the DNC info innocently they should so declare -- but other than a bare denial WikiLeaks claims of innocence have been weak and unpersuasive.

The dots are easily connected. Because we know the Russian's committed the theft, it's hard to imagine how WikiLeaks obtained the info other than the Russians providing it -- making WikiLeaks look more like a co-conspirator than a publisher with First Amendment safe harbor.
+3 # Radscal 2017-04-27 15:08
Whatever gave you the impression that I didn't know that phishing is illegal? Certainly not from anything I wrote or implied.

Similarly, whistleblowers who leak privileged/clas sified material are also breaking laws. That's why we ostensibly have laws protecting whistle blowers, but President Obama prosecuted more whistle blowers under the Espionage Act than all other Presidents in history combined.

However, the courts have consistently ruled that those who publish those leaked/stolen documents cannot be prosecuted.

And again, you believe you " know the Russian's committed the theft," despite the ONLY evidence being the claim of a private business who was proven to get it completely wrong when an independent group was able to double check their "investigation. "
+6 # dickbd 2017-04-27 15:40
Your analogy is not well taken because information is not the same as a credit card. And you're assuming that Podesta's story was true.

If it had not been for WikiKeaks, we wouldn't know about the killing of children and civilians from a helicopter during the occupation of Iraq.
+19 # mashiguo 2017-04-26 11:57
CIA declares war on truth?
And someone is just now noticing that?
+16 # Moxa 2017-04-26 14:16
Jesus Christ COULD be the savior of the world if the people who have weaponized him had the smallest idea of what he actually taught. Some of the most vociferous "Christians" speak and act in decidedly anti-Christian ways. "Love thine enemy" and "Turn the other cheek" represent an understanding of human unity virtually unknown in the world we live in. They derive from the ultimate revolutionary teaching. Don't blame Jesus for the insanity of the hypocrites who cling to his name.
+2 # Skeeziks 2017-04-26 22:12
Truer words as you write need to be spoken more.

The idea that we should be aware of where we live, as in "LIVE", should be a huge factor in how we treat other humans.

Jesus had the answer and we as people have yet to understand what that really means.
+9 # wrknight 2017-04-26 18:11
What did you expect from Trump? A bunch of truth tellers?

There's an old saw that goes "birds of a feather flock together". Like Trump, like Pompeo and like all the other liars Trump has brought into the administration.
+6 # jussayin 2017-04-28 17:18
So the Pomp is a "believer" in mythology and doesn't believe in scientific facts which are being manifested on a daily basis, yet is in "charge" of a major intel agency with a history of shady practices. Great. What could possibly go wrong?

He's missing the major danger to the world's population and chasing after "demons". Perhaps he should talk to the pentagon where they've been planning for the inevitable chaos that's quickly overcoming us as more feedback loops kick in and our resources will be spent mopping up and sandbagging rather than preventing catastrophes and improving
our society.

I guess when you have a team of inexperienced and incompetent posers who are busy trying to appear to know what they're doing, led by a narcissist who can't acknowledge his weaknesses and instead spends his time polishing his facade, you can't expect anything to get fixed. Instead we're left with trying to limit how much damage they can do.
+1 # elauesen 2017-05-03 11:34
Thanks for this, Bill...great job as usual. My support for Assange dried up a long time ago. The only thing I agree with Pompeo about is his précis on Wikileaks. Everything else is spot on.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.