Mike Pompeo, currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been nominated to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state in a shake-up announced Tuesday on Twitter by Presient Donald Trump.
Pompeo, 54, was born in Southern California and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, according to Biography. He served five years on active duty in the U.S. Army, then graduated from Harvard University and ran two businesses in Kansas before becoming involved in politics. A Republican, Pompeo was elected to the first of three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010.
In Congress, Pompeo sharply criticized the release of a 2014 report on abuses in the CIA’s treatment of prisoners from the war on terror, reported Politico. He also was a strident voice for an investigation into the Benghazi attacks, ultimately joining a statement blasting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And Pompeo opposed a deal struck by the Obama administration with Iran to halt nuclear weapons research.
He was nominated by Trump to the post of CIA director in November 2016 and confirmed the following January by a 66-32 vote in the U.S. Senate. He has visited Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the position and in August took direct control of the Counterintelligence Mission Center, which helped launch a probe into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials, reported The Washington Post.
But some CIA officials questioned the action, citing Pompeo’s close ties to Trump.
“People have to watch him,” an unnamed CIA official told The Post. “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.”
CNN reported that Trump has wanted Pompeo as his secretary of state for months and the White House began planning for him to take the job last fall. Trump nominated Gina Haspel, currently deputy director of the CIA, to replace Pompeo in heading the agency. She’s the first woman nominated for the job.