Mike Pompeo

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Pompeo in 2016

Michael Richard Pompeo (December 30, 1963 – born in Orange, California) is an American politician, diplomat, businessman, and attorney who served under President Donald Trump as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2017 to 2018 and as the 70th United States Secretary of State from 2018 to 2021.

Pompeo is a former United States Army officer. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017, representing Kansas's 4th congressional district. He was a Kansas representative on the Republican National Committee. Pompeo is also a member of the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party.




  • A religion that claims to be one of peace must reject violence that is perpetrated in its name.... 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...Modern Imams must strive to ensure that no Muslim finds solace for terrorism in the Quran, they must cite the Quran as evidence that the murder of innocents is not permitted by good, believing Muslims, and must immediately refute all claims to the contrary.




  • Over the five, ten, twenty-five year time horizon, just by simple demographics and wealth, as well as by the internal system in that country, China presents the greatest challenge that the United States will face in the medium to long-term.
    • Pompeo: China Is Biggest Threat to the United States, Breitbart, (10 December 2018)


  • It was my pleasure to speak to #AIPAC2019 today. My message was not only to reaffirm the essentiality of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but also that the U.S. stands with the Jewish people and Israel in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry: anti-Semitism.
    The rise of anti-Semitism & anti-Zionism strikes at the very foundation of freedom. The Trump Administration opposes it unequivocally & will fight it relentlessly, from the fever swamp of the UN Human Rights Council to the world’s #1 proponent of anti-Semitism: Iran.
    We will not grow weary of this fight. Israel should be admired, not attacked, embraced, not vilified. I’m proud to lead American diplomacy to support Israel’s right to defend itself, stand with the Jewish people

Why Diplomacy Matters, Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, Q&A Discussion at Texas A&M University, (15 April 2019)


Full text online

  • So there’s lots of different ways to serve at the State Department. We have folks from all different backgrounds – engineers, event planners, speechwriting teams, all the skills that the Lord gives different people. You can go take a look on our website, and then for those who want to make a career working in the Foreign Service, study hard and prepare for the Foreign Service exam, and then the process is pretty straightforward from there.
  • I’m now two weeks short of being Secretary of State for one full year. There’s two things, as I stare at the State Department to make sure that we’re ready for the 21st century. One of them is what you identified. We need the capacity to move at the speed of our adversaries. They move quickly. Whether that’s al-Qaida or ISIS or the Russians or the Cubans, they make decisions quickly. They – none of those are democracies, with all the process that’s attached to that. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, don’t make – don’t confuse. But we have to make sure that American diplomacy can move at that speed. There’s an information component to that, there’s a technology component to that, and there’s places that we have real work to do.
  • In 1946, President Truman... was traveling with Winston Churchill to Missouri, where Churchill would deliver his famous “Iron Curtain” speech... at Westminster at a local college. On the train, Truman showed Churchill a recent re-design of the presidential seal. The eagle’s head was turned to the right, so it faced the talons holding olive branches. Now, that represented diplomacy. But rather than having the eagle turn to face the arrows, which represented war, Churchill pondered for a moment and he said, “I think the head should be on a swivel, back and forth.”
  • Diplomacy and military strength go hand in hand. They are indeed intimately related. Each relies on the other. I saw this as a young Army captain way back in the 1980s, when I patrolled that very Iron Curtain that Churchill spoke about. I had the incredible privilege, along with my fellow soldiers, we were there to deter the Soviets and indeed prepare this country for the worst. But ultimately, it wasn’t our tanks that delivered that victory. It was diplomacy, backed by the credible threat of force that we had projected.
  • There are those who think that Assad has prevailed. I don’t know that there’s a need to declare winners and losers, but the facts on the ground are that today Assad rules over a very broken country with 6 million displaced persons. He controls, depending on how you count it, a third to 40 percent of the real estate of Syria. Much of the oil wealth, the thing that has driven Syria’s economy for an awfully long time, is not in the control of the Assad regime, and he faces a determined coalition put together in part by the institution that I am so privileged to run, whether they are European countries or countries or Gulf state nations or countries even in Africa who recognize that we can’t begin to rebuild Syria until there is a political resolution there.
    And so before those sanctions go away... UN Security Council Resolution 2254 will have to have been fulfilled, which means a political resolution to the outcome, so the migrants who have left Syria for Turkey and for Lebanon and for Jordan can return home and a political process can begin to move forward. These sanctions are never something we do with glee, and we do them only as a means to try and achieve an outcome that’s good for the United States and good for the world.
  • You cannot have an effective national security policy without an economy that is growing. We should all be mindful that America remains $22 trillion in debt. That is a challenge. For those of you who – my son is 28 years old. I figure we’ll pay the bills while I’m here. I wonder if we will for his whole life. You have to have an economy that is thriving and flourishing, and the State Department takes this mission on. There is no other American institution that has officers in the field at nearly every American embassy – 180-plus American embassies – where we have economic officers who, for those of you who go decide to start your own business or run a company or become part of a global operation, touch base with our team.
  • We don’t appreciate how glorious it is to be here in the United States of America on a consistent enough basis and with enough fervor. Maybe you do here at Texas A&M, but I think too many Americans don’t understand how blessed we are. These are – are many, many tough places out there.... Having said that, not all tough places are the same. They each present a different set of challenges. I – it reminds me, you would know this as – it’s a bit of an aside. But in terms of how you think about problem sets, I – when I was a cadet, what’s the first – what’s the cadet motto at West Point? You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do. I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. (Laughter.) It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. (Applause.) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.
    And so when you deal with these countries, you have to just recognize they’re not all the same. Some of these difficult, nasty places want to partner with the United States and just haven’t gotten to the right place yet, just haven’t been able to move their own institutions.
  • There are another set of bad actors who’d just as soon see you all perish from this planet. That calls out for a different American response. And so sorting those through, figuring out exactly the right mix of American tools – diplomatic tools, economic tools, political tools, military tools, figuring out precisely what the right mix is the task that we engage in at the State Department, but we do it with all of our partners in the national security apparatus as well. So the leadership in the White House, the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, the Department of Treasury – we were talking about sanctions – all of those have an important piece of figuring out what exactly the right mix is.
  • And so just two things. One, we need to constantly evaluate if we have that right with respect to every one of those actors. Have we got the right balance? Are they still in the same place? Are they still making progress? Are they still serious about addressing the shortcomings that we identify? And then second, we have to be relentless, whether they are friends or adversaries, in making sure when a nation falls short that America will never shy away from calling them out for that behavior that didn’t rise to the level that we hope every nation can achieve.



Quotes about

  • Trump was often just one yes-man away from doing what he wanted. One attorney general. One military commander. One vice president. Many of those who blocked Trump were complicated figures who had spent years enabling him before finally deciding he had gone too far. Even then they often remained in his orbit or refused to speak out. Mike Pence, Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, his four chiefs of staff, his lawyers, the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill. For them, every day was a moral challenge, a series of tradeoffs in which they weighed the benefits of accomplishing whatever agenda had brought them into Trump’s world in the first place—whether patriotism or personal ambition or policy goals or simply partisanship—against the need to stop the situation from spiraling out of control. There was a not inconsiderable element of hubris to this; they believed they could manage him, and often succeeded for a while in doing so, only to claim they were shocked it had not worked out when it all ended badly, as it inevitably did. This book is their story too, because without them Donald Trump might have been just another angry old man shouting at the television between golf games.
    • Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021 (2022)
  • After the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) found a reasonable basis to believe that U.S. military and CIA leaders committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, Team Trump threatened to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from the U.S. and warned it would impose economic sanctions on the Court if it launched an investigation... Once again, the Trump administration is threatening the International Criminal Court. Following the Appeals Chamber’s decision, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared, “This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution, masquerading as a legal body.” He added, “The United States is not a party to the ICC, and we will take all necessary measures to protect our citizens from this renegade, so-called court.” Pompeo is likely referring to the American Service-Members’ Protection Act... it says that if a U.S. or allied national is detained by the ICC, the U.S. military can use armed force to extricate the individual. Although this provision has not yet been utilized, the potential for its use is frightening.
  • The impunity that U.S. officials have enjoyed for their international crimes may finally be coming to an end... Responding to Pompeo’s threats... “No one except the world’s most brutal regimes win when the United States tries to impugn and sabotage international institutions established to hold human rights abusers accountable... Countries must fully cooperate with this investigation and not submit to any authoritarian tactics by the Trump administration to sabotage it,” Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Project, said.
  • The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has asserted that the US and its allies must keep China in “its proper place”. This wasn’t the kind of rhetoric of Richard Nixon with his opening to China half a century ago. Nor was it that of Jimmy Carter who gave full recognition to China. The clock needs to be wound back. The US needs to negotiate with China in better faith than it has in recent years... The leadership from the top over the last three American presidencies has steadily pushed US public opinion from being friendly towards China in the direction of hostility...
  • When the UN security council and the G7 group sought to agree a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts stumbled on the US insistence on describing the threat as distinctively Chinese... the focus on labelling the virus Chinese and blaming China pursued by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, helped ensure there would be no meaningful collective response from the world’s most powerful nations...
    For some US allies, the fixation on words at a time when the international order was arguably facing its greatest challenge since the second world war encapsulated the glaring absence of US leadership. And that absence was illustrated just as vividly by news coverage of planes full of medical supplies from China arriving in Italy, at a time when the US was quietly flying in half a million Italian-made diagnostic swabs for use in its own under-equipped health system and Donald Trump was on the phone to the South Korean president pressing him to send test kits.
  • After the close call yesterday when you called off the planned military strike on Iran, we remain concerned that you are about to be mousetrapped into war with Iran. You have said you do not want such a war (no sane person would), and our comments below are based on that premise. There are troubling signs that Secretary Pompeo is not likely to jettison his more warlike approach, More importantly, we know from personal experience with Pompeo’s dismissive attitude to instructions from you that his agenda can deviate from yours on issues of major consequence... Pompeo’s behavior betrays a strong desire to resort to military action — perhaps even without your approval — to Iranian provocations (real or imagined), with no discernible strategic goal other than to advance the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He is a neophyte compared to his anti-Iran partner John Bolton, whose dilettante approach to interpreting intelligence, strong advocacy of the misbegotten war on Iraq (and continued pride in his role in promoting it), and fierce pursuit of his own aggressive agenda are a matter of a decades-long record.
  • You may not be fully aware of our experience with Pompeo, who has now taken the lead on Iran. That experience leaves us with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness on issues of consequence to you and the country, including the contentious issue of alleged Russian hacking into the DNC. The sketchy “evidence” behind that story has now crumbled, thanks to some unusual candor from the Department of Justice...The point here is that Pompeo could have exposed the lies about Russian hacking of the DNC, had he done what you asked him to do almost two years ago when he was director of the CIA... In our Memorandum to you of July 24, 2017 entitled “Was the ‘Russian Hack’ an Inside Job?,” we suggested: “You may wish to ask CIA Director Mike Pompeo what he knows about this... Three months later, Director Pompeo invited William Binney, one of VIPS’ two former NSA technical directors (and a co-author of our July 24, 2017 Memorandum), to CIA headquarters to discuss our findings. Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney on October 24, 2017 by explaining the genesis of the unusual invitation: “You are here because the President told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.” But Did Pompeo ‘Really Want to Know’? Apparently not...
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's rush to judgement that Iran was behind the apparent attacks on two tanker ships last week has not galvanized world opinion against Iran, as the neocons hoped. Instead, it was met with high skepticism even among Washington's closest allies. Has the neocon practice of massively exaggerating and endlessly issuing threats finally destroyed US credibility on the world stage?
  • Casting the Trump administration’s credibility gap into sharp relief, allies like Japan and Germany have demanded more “credible” evidence to support the U.S. claim. While President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been unequivocal in their assertion that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, some of America’s closest allies are demanding more proof.
    Both Japan and Germany have requested more concrete evidence to support the Trump administration’s insistence that Iran was behind the twin attacks on the Norwegian-owned Front Altar and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday. Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s opposition leader, said more “credible evidence” was needed to support Trump’s allegation.... According to The New York Times, other European leaders have also been hesitant to lay the blame on Iran ― a doubt fueled in part by their “distrust of the Trump administration and its hawkish policy toward Tehran,” the paper said.
  • I was the CIA director. We lied. We cheated. We Stole.”—Mike Pompeo... US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 13, 2019, blamed Iran for attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman. Iran had no motive for the recent attack on civilian vessels in the Gulf of Oman, but the US has motives to falsely blame Iran for it. It appears that Mike Pompeo has a hard time kicking his old habits. He appears to be as smug about lying as a CIA operative as he is as Secretary of State. Categorically blaming the Iranians for the recent oil attack tankers has left allies scratching their heads; and perhaps leaving foes thinking: “Thank God my enemy is so stupid”!
    On June 13, 2019, as Ayatollah Khamenei was holding talks in Tehran with Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, two oil tankers carrying oil to Japan were attacked. As investigations into the incident were just beginning, Pompeo had already concluded his assessment and had it ready for the press. Much to the audible surprise of the world, and without any proof or supporting documents, he laid the blame firmly at Iran’s feet citing “intelligence”...
  • Although the US is militarily superior to Iran by a wide margin, the Iranians as a last resort could fire rockets or otherwise attack Saudi and UAE oil facilities. Such apocalyptic events are unlikely – but powerful figures in Washington, such as the national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, appear prepared to take the risk of a war breaking out... Bolton and Pompeo are reported to have used some mortar rounds landing near the US embassy in Baghdad in February as an excuse to get a reluctant Pentagon to prepare a list of military options against Iran... the US and Saudi Arabia have been talking up war against Iran just as economic sanctions are seriously biting.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if you had missed the Associated Press report about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing that the United States “will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.” In fact, said Pompeo, some visas may already have been denied or revoked, but he refused to “provide details as to who has been affected and who will be affected”...
  • If a normal Republican president had nominated a figure like this to head the country’s major foreign intelligence agency, there likely would have been a lot of attention paid to his apocalyptic religiosity and Manichaean worldview. Amid the fire hose of lunacy that is the Trump transition, however, Pompeo’s extremism has been overlooked... Like Trump, Pompeo has been a fierce critic of efforts to rein in the CIA’s torture program and a champion of keeping Guantanamo Bay open. While in Congress, he was a frequent guest on the radio show of famously paranoid Frank Gaffney, a man disinvited from the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated its parent organization, the American Conservative Union... Gaffney once called Pompeo “one of the most intelligent men I know in public life,” and the two see the world similarly. In February 2015... Gaffney suggested that Obama might be conveying “an affinity” for ISIS’s cause, if not all its tactics: “the raising up of the Muslim Ummah, a grand rebalancing of America’s role in the world.” Pompeo relied, “Frank, every place you stare at the president’s policies and statements, you see what you just described … every policy of this administration has treated America as if we are the problem and not the solution.”
  • Pompeo said a religion that claims to be one of peace must "reject violence that is perpetrated in its name." However, he said that while many Muslims oppose terrorist attacks against the U.S., many mosques and many Muslim leaders across the country are not taking a stand on terrorist violence....He said that in cases where extreme Christians or Jews have used their religion to justify violence, leaders of these religions have taken stands against these justifications. "Just as these religious leaders have called out those who have killed and acted brutally in the name of their faith, so too must Muslim religious leaders refute terrorist theology," he said. Pompeo said Muslim leaders must state that there is no justification for terrorism, and must denounce radical Muslim clerics who seek to justify terrorism. He also called on these leaders to refute the idea that there is justification for violence that can be found in the Quran.

America’s Unholy Crusade Against China, Jeffrey Sachs, (5 August 2020)


(full text)

  • Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an anti-China speech that was extremist, simplistic, and dangerous. If biblical literalists like Pompeo remain in power past November, they could well bring the world to the brink of a war that they expect and perhaps even seek.
    According to Pompeo, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) harbor a “decades-long desire for global hegemony.” This is ironic... Pompeo’s zealous excesses have deep roots in American history... Pompeo himself is a biblical literalist who believes that the end time, the apocalyptic battle between good and evil, is imminent. Pompeo described his beliefs...: America is a Judeo-Christian nation, the greatest in history, whose task is to fight God’s battles until the Rapture, when Christ’s born-again followers, like Pompeo, will be swept to heaven at the Last Judgment... Pompeo’s inflammatory anti-China rhetoric could become even more apocalyptic in the coming weeks, if only to fire up the Republican base ahead of the election.
  • According to Pompeo [U.S. Secretary of State], Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) harbor a “decades-long desire for global hegemony.” This is ironic. Only one country – the US – has a defense strategy calling for it to be the “preeminent military power in the world,” with “favorable regional balances of power in the Indo-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere.” China’s defense white paper, by contrast, states that “China will never follow the beaten track of big powers in seeking hegemony,” and that, “As economic globalization, the information society, and cultural diversification develop in an increasingly multi-polar world, peace, development, and win-win cooperation remain the irreversible trends of the times.”
  • One is reminded of Jesus’s own admonition: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
  • US military spending totaled $732 billion in 2019, nearly three times the $261 billion China spent. The US.. has around 800 overseas military bases, while China has just one (a small naval base in Djibouti). The US has many military bases close to China, which has none anywhere near the US. The US has 5,800 nuclear warheads; China has roughly 320. The US has 11 aircraft carriers; China has one. The US has launched many overseas wars in the past 40 years; China has launched none (though it has been criticized for border skirmishes, most recently with India, that stop short of war).
  • The world took relatively little notice of Pompeo’s speech, which offered no evidence to back up his claims of China’s hegemonic ambition. China’s rejection of US hegemony does not mean that China itself seeks hegemony. Indeed, outside of the US, there is little belief that China aims for global dominance. China’s explicitly stated national goals are to be a “moderately prosperous society” by 2021 (the centenary of the CPC), and a “fully developed country” by 2049 (the centennial of the People’s Republic).
  • Moreover, at an estimated $10,098 in 2019, China’s GDP per capita was less than one-sixth that of the US ($65,112) – hardly the basis for global supremacy. China still has a lot of catching up to do to achieve even its basic economic development goals. Assuming that Trump loses in November’s presidential election, Pompeo’s speech will likely receive no further notice. The Democrats will surely criticize China, but without Pompeo’s brazen exaggerations. Yet, if Trump wins, Pompeo’s speech could be a harbinger of chaos. Pompeo’s evangelism is real, and white evangelicals are the political base of today’s Republican Party. Pompeo’s zealous excesses have deep roots in American history.
  • If Trump is defeated, as seems likely, the risk of a US confrontation with China will recede. But if he remains in power, whether by a true electoral victory, vote fraud, or even a coup (anything is possible), Pompeo’s crusade would probably proceed, and could well bring the world to the brink of a war that he expects and perhaps even seeks.
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U.S. Department of State: Remarks by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo