Putting an end to a weekend during which the CIA had operated without any director, the Senate today confirmed Rep. Mike Pompeo (R – KS), President Trump’s selection, into the position. The vote, which ended 66-32, had been initially scheduled for last Friday, but delayed as Senate Democrats complained there wasn’t enough time for debate.
Pompeo was an outspoken advocate of NSA surveillance, and also a harsh critic of efforts by the Senate to release their substantial report on CIA torture during the war on terror, saying the people who had engaged in torture were “patriots,” and that the Senators were putting the country at risk.
Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) voted against Pompeo’s confirmation, citing Pompeo’s comments about the torture report as a major concern, and saying he fears Pompeo’s desire for security will ultimately trump his defense of liberty.
In confirmation hearing comments, Pompeo tried to present himself as much more moderate, insisting that he is not only completely opposed to having the CIA torture detainees, but that he “can’t imagine” Trump would even ask him to.