Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, isn’t convinced that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is the right person to run the U.S. Department of State.
He’s also not enthused about President Donald Trump’s decision to promote Gina Haspell to run the CIA.
The dean of New Mexico’s congressional delegation issued a statement today casting shade on President Donald Trump’s leadership choices for State and the CIA following Trump’s dismissal of long-embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this morning.
Describing the State Department as in “chaos,” Udall said he respects Pompeo’s “service to the nation.” But he also said, “I am not comforted that President Trump says they share a ‘similar thought process’.”
“I voted against Mr. Pompeo’s nomination to head the CIA because of his defense of torture, spying programs that violated Americans’ privacy, and other tactics that violate the human rights that are central to our Constitution and what the United States of America stands for,” Udall said. “He now must face the Senate again and answer tough questions about his fitness for this position, establishing stability in the State Department and rebuilding our reputation abroad through diplomacy, not dangerous threats.”
And Udall wasn’t finished. He also cast doubt on Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel, whom Trump has proposed to replace Pompeo to lead the CIA. Udall said he has “similar concerns” about Haspel as he does about Pompeo.
Udall said Haspel “will need to answer to the American people about her role in overseeing torture programs that are now banned, and her reported efforts to cover it up.”
“I have long admired leaders, including Senator John McCain, who have spoken out about the ineffectiveness of using torture to interrogate detainees and the damage it does to our standing in the world,” Udall said. “The Senate confirmation process must include a frank conversation with Deputy Director Haspel about those issues, among many others.”