The U.S. Senate confirmed Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to be the Director of the CIA late on Monday over concerns from several congressional Democrats, who warned that putting Pompeo at the head of the intelligence agency would threaten civil liberties.
In an impassioned floor speech, Sen. Bernie Sanders called it “vital to have a head of the CIA who will stand up for our constitution, stand up for privacy rights.” He continued, “Unfortunately, in my view, Mr. Pompeo is not that individual.”
As we said late last year, we have concerns that many of President Donald Trump’s nominees, including Pompeo, will undermine digital rights and civil liberties, and those concerns persist.
Specifically, Pompeo sponsored legislation that would have reinstated the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata—an invasive program that civil liberties and privacy advocates fought to curtail by enacting the USA FREEDOM Act.
We also noted troubling op-eds written by Pompeo. In one piece in late 2015, Pompeo criticized Republican presidential candidates who were supposedly “weak” on national security and intelligence collection. “Less intelligence capacity equals less safety,” he wrote.
In another op-ed a few weeks later, Pompeo criticized lawmakers for “blunting [the intelligence community’s] surveillance powers” and called for “a fundamental upgrade to America’s surveillance capabilities.”
Critics on t