This is the culmination of research conducted using various public forums and news articles. It’s not a scholarly work, or even original reporting. The majority of the events listed are a matter of public record, but have not been independently corroborated by The Standard. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of a relatively unknown politician with close ties to the Koch brothers and President Trump, and who now represents the United States as Secretary of State.
ifteen months after he was inaugurated, and in the midst of dozens of staff shakeups, President Trump unceremoniously fired his Secretary of State and nominated Mike Pompeo, the hawkish former Representative from Kansas who had placed in charge of the CIA.
The Pompeo nomination barely made it out of committee with a positive vote on partisan lines, and was confirmed by the Senate largely across party lines with a few vulnerable Democrats in swing states voting to confirm. It was one thing to oversee an information gathering organization and quite another to make policy for the United States on the world stage. Despite his objections that he had been unfairly targeted as a hawk during his confirmation hearing, many observers were concerned that between John Bolton being appointed as Trump’s most recent National Security Advisor, and the President’s penchant for reacting impulsively, the United States was heading into an era of global conflict with no clear agenda or foreign policy.
We thought it was worth looking a little more deeply into who Mike Pompeo really is, what has informed his world view, and try to get some idea of what we can expect.
Mike Pompeo was born in 1963 in Orange, California and graduated from Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley, California before going on to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point where he majored in engineering development. After graduation, Pompeo served in the U.S. Army as an Armor Branch Officer with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the 4th Infantry Division, reaching the rank of Captain. After completing his military service, Pompeo was accepted into Harvard Law School where he received a Juris Doctor. While at Harvard, he served as one of the editors of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, and on the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating law school in 1994, he worked as a lawyer for Williams & Connolly a prominent litigation firm based in Washington, D.C., who have represented high-profile cases include the successful defense of U.S. President Clinton’s impeachment, representation of Enron’s law firm Vinson & Elkins, Colonel Oliver North during the Iran-Contra Affair and John Hinckley, the would-be assassin of Ronald Reagan.
After four years with Williams & Connolly, Pompeo, along with three other friends from West Point, Brian Bulatao, Ulrich Brechbuhl, and Michael Stradinger, acquired three aircraft part manufacturers in Wichita (Aero Machine, Precision Profiling, B&B Machine) and one in St. Louis (Advance Tool & Die) and named the newly found company Thayer Aerospace (named for West Point founder Sylvanus Thayer). Pompeo and Bulatao bought out partners Brechbuhl and Stradinger not long after forming, and Bulatao served as the company’s president until 2006, when it was sold to a private equity firm. Venture funding came, in part, from Koch Industries.
Koch Industries, is an American multinational corporation based in Wichita, Kansas. The company, run by brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, is the largest privately held company in the United States, with annual revenue of $115 billion, and owns companies such as Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Molex, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Minerals, Matador Cattle Company, and Guardian Industries. The Koch brothers have been active political contributors in libertarian and conservative circles since the early 1980’s.
Kenneth P. Vogel, a reporter writing for Politico in 2016, wrote, “Over the last seven years, their operation grew to the point where it resembled a privatized political party, heading into the cycle pledging to spend $889 million through an infrastructure that rivaled that of the Republican National Committee.”
In 2006, Pompeo and Bulatao sold their interests in Thayer Aerospace to Highland Capital Management. Thayer’s clients by then included “Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream Aerospace, Cessna Aircraft, Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, Raytheon Aircraft and others”. It was renamed Nex-Tech Aerospace.
Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company, which was also a partner of Koch Industries and Bulatao left to work as the CEO for Chick Packaging and then after the company’s acquisition by Nefab A/B in 2010, he became Executive Vice President, leading the combined operations in North and South America. Later Bulatao went into private equity, as a senior adviser at Highlander Partners, L.P., a Dallas-based investment firm that claims more than $1 billion in assets under management.
While could find no evidence of ties between Highland Capital Management, LP (the company that bought Thayer Aerospace) and Highland Partners, LP (the company that Bulatao later went to work for) but they happen to be located in the same building at 300 Crescent Ct, Dallas, TX 75201 in suites 700 and 550 respectively.
In 2010, Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt, who had represented Kansas’s 4th District for the House of Representatives, declined to seek a ninth term in favor of running for Senate. Mike Pompeo, with significant funding from the Koch brothers, ran for the seat. Until his election, Pompeo’s only substantive political experience appears to have been a job as a trustee of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, a Koch-organized front formerly known as the Kansas Policy Institute.
After defeating Republican rivals State Senator Jean Schodorf, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, small business owner Jim Anderson and State Senator Dick Kelsey, Pompeo ran an controversial campaign against Democratic challenger State Representative Raj Goyle, an Indian-American.
The general campaign was contentious at best with the Pompeo campaign posting a link to a controversial blog that attacked Goyle’s religion and ethnic heritage and referred to him as “just another ‘turban topper’ we don’t need in Congress or any political office that deals with the U.S. Constitution, Christianity, and the United States of America!” The Goyle camp attacked Pompeo for what they called “bigoted attacks” when the Republican candidate sponsored billboards that said “Vote American, Vote Pompeo” and “True Americans vote for Pompeo.” Pompeo denied that there was any racist intent, and easily defeated Goyle in the general election.
On Snowden: “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.”
Koch Industries not only donated heavily to his primary campaign with over $31,000 in contributions, as one of the largest employers in Wichita Koch boasted of their endorsement saying, “The employees of the Koch Companies have jobs here in the Wichita because of their own hard work and creativity, not because a federal agency deemed it to be so.”
Pompeo was also the recipient of support from Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the right-wing Tea Party group founded and financed by David Koch. In all, Pompeo received over $81,000 in contributions from Koch Industries and their affiliates.
In August 28, 2009, Pompeo spoke at a large Tea Party rally organized by AFP which used its extensive Kansas-based staff to mobilize dozens of other right-wing events in and around the 4th Congressional District. According to thinkprogress.com at the time, “In addition to the rallies and Tea Party events, AFP touts Pompeo for signing onto its pledge to ignore climate change. The Kansas chapter of AFP was previously run by Alan Cobb, who once served as a chief lobbyist for Koch Industries. Cobb is now coordinating state efforts nationwide for AFP.”
Over the next three election cycles (2012-2016), Pompeo won his district handily with a margin of 60-30% on average, always with the continued support of the Koch brothers and their affiliates.
On November 18, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Pompeo to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 23, 2017, with a vote of 66–32, and sworn in later that day. He promptly named his old pal and business partner, Brian Bulatao as Chief Operation Officer, a position that earlier was named Executive Director. The position does not require Congressional approval.
In March 2017, Pompeo formally invoked executive privilege to prevent CIA agents, including Gina Haspel and James Cotsana, from being compelled to testify in the trial of Bruce Jessen and James Elmer Mitchell.
Jessen and Mitchell, both psychologists and former members of the United States Air Force, created the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were used in the interrogation of CIA detainees, as outlined in the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on CIA torture. His company, Mitchell Jessen and Associates, earned $81 million for its work.
“The detainees at GTMO are treated exceptionally well – so well that some have even declined to be resettled, instead choosing to stay at GTMO.”
In August 2017, Pompeo took command of the Counterintelligence Mission Center, the department which helped to launch an investigation into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials. Former CIA directors expressed concern since Pompeo was known to be an ally of Trump.
President Donald Trump announced on March 13, 2018, that he would nominate Pompeo to serve as Secretary of State, succeeding Rex Tillerson and that he would nominate Gina Haspel replacing Pompeo as the CIA director.
Haspel has been criticized for her involvement in overseeing CIA “black sites” that were allegedly used to torture prisoners such as suspected al Qaeda terrorist members Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah. In early February 2017, The New York Times and ProPublica reported that waterboardings were conducted under Haspel. In March 2018, U.S. officials said that Haspel was not involved in the torture of Zubaydah, as she only became chief of base after Zubaydah was tortured. ProPublica and The New York Times issued corrections to their stories but noted that Haspel was involved in the torture of al-Nashiri. Haspel was also allegedly responsible for the destruction of 92 interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations.
On April 26th, 2018, Pompeo was sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of State by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
In His Own Words:
Mike Pompeo’s thoughts on a variety of relevant subjects.Source
2014 Senate Torture Report:
“Our men and women who were tasked to keep us safe in the aftermath of 9/11 — our military and our intelligence warriors — are heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and Senator Feinstein,” Pompeo said in a statement on Dec. 9, 2014. “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots. The programs being used were within the law, within the constitution, and conducted with the full knowledge Senator Feinstein. If any individual did operate outside of the program’s legal framework, I would expect them to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“It is hard to imagine a sound reason that Senator Feinstein would put American operators and their families at risk—by demanding the release of details that are not in any way related to the legality or appropriateness of the programs. The intelligence collection programs described in the report have been in the news and hot topics for discussion for years. The sad conclusion left open is that her release of the report is the result of a narcissistic self-cleansing that is quintessentially at odds with her duty to the country.
“Moreover, the release of this report makes our nation is less secure. Our friends and allies across the world, who have worked closely with us to crush the Islamic jihad that threatens every Kansan and every American, now know the United States government will not honor its commitments. Their willingness to work with us in the future is now greatly diminished.”
“It’s been just under two months since the attacks in Boston,” said in a speech on floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 11, 2013. “In those intervening weeks, the silence of Muslim leaders has been deafening. And that is sad, but most importantly, it is dangerous. When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith, and are performed in the name of that faith, a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith. Instead of responding, silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts and more importantly still, in those that may well follow.”
“GTMO has been a goldmine of intelligence about radical Islamic terrorism. I have traveled to GTMO and have seen the honorable and professional behavior of the American men and women in uniform, who serve at the detention facility,” Pompeo said in a statement on Nov. 18. “The detainees at GTMO are treated exceptionally well – so well that some have even declined to be resettled, instead choosing to stay at GTMO. It is delusional to think that any plan the president puts before Congress to relocate radical Islamic terrorists to the U.S, and potentially Fort Leavenworth Kansas, will make our country safer. The reality is that this proposal will ultimately put Kansans and Americans in danger.”
“It’s not a question whether America can prevent a nuclear Iran or stop Russian aggression; it’s a question of whether (the Obama) administration has the backbone to use the tools and solutions available,” Pompeo said on Dec. 3, 2014. “Each of these nations poses real threats to America and the West – what is needed is not ambiguity, but clarity, forcefulness and commitments that do not exceed America’s willingness to fulfill them.
“Ayatollah Khamenei watches America allow Iran to expand its power while our President writes him missives ensuring we will protect Iran’s interests. This is dangerous. The Islamic Republic cannot even feed its own people without access to markets and our President rewards that nation, which has killed countless Americans, with sanctions relief. Congress should immediately act to stop all oil shipments out of Iran, reinstitute economic sanctions and demand that our allies do so as well. We should make clear that nuclear enrichment is not acceptable inside of Iran for any purpose and, as President Bush once said, those who harbor terrorists who kill Americans will be treated in the same manner as if they had committed the act of terror themselves.”
“I believe that program has proven to be a very valuable asset for the intelligence community and for law enforcement,” Pompeo said in an interview with McClatchy in January. “We ought not to take that tool away from our intelligence community while the threats are as great as they are today.”
“(Americans) understood this was a monitoring program, and it’s not,” Pompeo said. “Not a single email was read or call was listened to without the due process the constitution requires.”
NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden:
“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 for having put friends of mine, friends of yours, who serve in the military today at enormous risk because of the information he stole and then released to foreign powers,” Pompeo said on C-SPAN on Feb. 11.
Barack Obama Administration’s Approach to the War on Terror:
“This isn’t about defeating ISIS as the end objective. The challenge that this administration has refused to take on is that there is a very real call in the west to defeat and destroy the threat from radical Islamic terrorism, whether it fights under the name of Al Quaeda … or Boko Haram or ISIS or any of the other dozens of groups that are founded on the central principle of the destruction of the West and the imposition of Sharia law,” Pompeo said in an Oct. 17 interview with the Wichita Eagle. “And this administration has refused to acknowledge that. They have simply treated these as ordinary criminals and so they have attempted to apply a criminal law model to a threat, which is not that. And as a result the threat to the west is far greater today than it was seven and half years ago.”
Goals For The Trump Administration’s Fight Against Radical Islamic Terror:
“It’s possible to defeat ISIS in Dabiq and still have a greater threat here in the West. And so the focus needs to be on a military, diplomatic and ideological defeat of radical Islamic terrorism,” Pompeo told the Wichita Eagle on Oct. 17. “And once you understand that that’s the threat of our times the tactical response becomes very, very clear and inevitably achievable. It is inevitably something that can be achieved by the will of the American people without sending 60 or 80 or 100,000 soldiers to fight, U.S. soldiers, to fight in the Middle East, something I would not advocate for.”
The following are miscellaneous facts, votes, opinions and events in the public record:
- Pompeo supports the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, referring to the agency’s efforts as “good and important work”.
- Pompeo stated, “Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection.”
- In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Pompeo said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are “potentially complicit” in the attacks. The Council on American–Islamic Relations called on him to revise his remarks, calling them “false and irresponsible”. In 2016, ACT! for America gave Pompeo a “national security eagle award” for his comments on Islam. Pompeo has been a frequent guest on Frank Gaffney’s radio show for the Center for Security Policy. As a congressman, Pompeo cosponsored legislation to add the Muslim Brotherhood to the United States State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
- Pompeo opposes closing Guantanamo Bay detention camp. After a 2013 visit to the prison, he said, of the prisoners who were on hunger strike, “It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight.“ He criticized the Obama administration’s decision to end secret prisons and its requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.
- In 2017 it was reported that Pompeo expressed desire for regime change in North Korea. In July 2017, he said “It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today.”
- Pompeo worked to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran that was supported by the Obama administration. Referring to the agreement, he stated, “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” He also stated that a better option than negotiating with Iran would be to use “under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.”
- On July 21, 2015, Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged the existence of secret side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on procedures for inspection and verification of Iran’s nuclear activities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal. Obama administration officials acknowledged the existence of agreements between Iran and the IAEA governing the inspection of sensitive military sites but denied the characterization that they were “secret side deals”, calling them standard practice in crafting arms-control pacts and arguing the administration had provided information about them to Congress.
- In November 2015, Pompeo visited Israel and stated that “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people” and that “Netanyahu’s efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated”. He also stated that “In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important” and that “we must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace.”
- During his confirmation hearing, Pompeo stated that Russia “has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS”.
- Pompeo accused Obama of inviting Russia into Syria.
- In a 2017 speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service” and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward:
… we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now … Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent. Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.
- In March 2014, he denounced the inclusion of a telecast by Snowden in the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, and asked that it be cancelled, predicting that it would encourage “lawless behavior” among attendees.
- In February 2016, Pompeo said Edward Snowden “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”. But he has spoken in favor of reforming the Federal Records Act, one of the laws under which Snowden was charged, saying “I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of change that needs to happen to the Espionage Act. The Federal Records Act clearly needs updating to reflect the different ways information is communicated and stored. Given the move in technology and communication methods, I think it’s probably due for an update.”
- Speaking about climate change in 2013, Pompeo said: “There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”
- He has stated, “Federal policy should be about the American family, not worshipping a radical environmental agenda.” He has referred to the Obama administration’s environment and climate change plans as “damaging” and “radical”. He opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the United States, and supports eliminating the United States federal register of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Pompeo signed the No Climate Tax pledge of Americans for Prosperity.
- He has called for the permanent elimination of wind power production tax credits, calling them an “enormous government handout”.
- In December 2015, as a member of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce, he voted for two resolutions disapproving of the Clean Power Plan implemented by the United States Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration.
- Pompeo opposed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pompeo has been criticized for saying that he supports funding for certain programs that are part of the ACA, yet he opposes them when they are a part of the ACA.
- Pompeo has stated that life begins at conception and believes that abortions should be allowed only when necessary to save the life of the mother. In 2011 he voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would have banned federal health coverage that includes abortion. Also in 2011, he voted for a prohibition on funding the United Nations Population Fund.
- He opposes same-sex marriage and had sponsored bills to let states prevent same-sex couples from marrying.
- Pompeo supported the United States federal government shutdown of 2013, blaming President Barack Obama. He stated that he believed the shutdown was necessary to avoid a predicted “American financial collapse 10 years from now”.
- He is a lifetime member of, and has been endorsed by, the National Rifle Association.
- Pompeo opposes requiring food suppliers to label food made with genetically modified organisms. He introduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 to block states from requiring mandatory GMO food labeling.
Here are some more links to the insanity that is Mike Pompeo.
This Evil Is All Around Us: Trump’s pick for the CIA, Mike Pompeo, sees foreign policy as a vehicle for holy war.
The Trump-Whisperer:Mike Pompeo is where foreign-policy realism meets America First