Saturday, 18 August 2018 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Trump Replaces Rex Tillerson With CIA Director Mike Pompeo at State; Torturer Named New Head of CIA

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 By Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said he'll replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump announced the news on Twitter this morning. He also said CIA's deputy director Gina Haspel will be tapped to succeed Pompeo at the CIA. Both would need to be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed Gina Haspel will become the first woman to head the CIA.

Gina Haspel was directly involved in the CIA's torture program under the George W. Bush administration. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were waterboarded and tortured. We air highlights from Democracy Now! coverage on Pompeo and Haspel.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, with this breaking news: President Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and says he'll replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump announced the news on Twitter this morning. He also said CIA's Deputy Director Gina Haspel will be tapped to succeed Pompeo at the CIA. Both would need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The move comes months after Tillerson reportedly called Trump an "f -- ing moron" during a meeting of national security officials. Trump responded to the report by challenging Tillerson to an IQ test.

If confirmed, Gina Haspel will become the first woman to head the CIA. Gina Haspel was directly involved in the CIA's torture program under George W. Bush. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were waterboarded and tortured.

Last year, I spoke with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept about Gina Haspel's record.

JEREMY SCAHILL: She was one of the people that ran a CIA black site where prisoners were mercilessly tortured, waterboarded, etc. And she, we understand, was the agent who led the destruction of the CIA torture tapes at the direction of the main torture ringleader, Jose Rodriguez, at the Central Intelligence Agency. That is the person who now is going to be the number two at Donald Trump's CIA. And Susan Rice, Obama's ambassador to the U.N., and all these other Democrats are up in arms because a Republican was bragging about her being, you know, the first woman to be named to such a high position, and that, in fact, Obama had also named a woman to a high position in the CIA. The objection is not the black site, not the torture, not the destruction of tapes, but that there was gender equality somehow under Obama, and now Trump has picked this woman. I mean, that's the state where we're at now in our discussion about these policies. The fact is that Trump's administration: Islamophobes, billionaires, bigots and torture lovers.

AMY GOODMAN: That's Jeremy Scahill. The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald tweeted today, "Haspel, who will be the first woman to [lead] CIA, didn't just oversee the Bush CIA's black site but directly participated in the horrific torture of detainees. She also participated in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah. This isn't a radical departure for CIA. After all, Haspel did this under George Tenet. At the time, John Brennan -- who became Obama's CIA director -- was an advocate of rendition & other torture methods. And Pompeo was fine with black sites. Still notable: she's an actual torturer." Those the words of Glenn Greenwald in a tweet today after Trump made his announcement.

Democracy Now! spoke to Jeremy Scahill about Mike Pompeo in November of 2016, soon after the election of President Trump.

JEREMY SCAHILL: What I think we're going to see with someone like Mike Pompeo, if he ends up being the CIA director, first of all, just on a side note that relates to the work we do at The Intercept, Pompeo basically has said that he thinks Edward Snowden should be killed and that he is a treasonous traitor and that he supports domestic surveillance operations, including against American citizens. He has a very strong anti-civil liberties background. And that's why he's getting praise from people like General Michael Hayden and others. Democrats also are speaking positively about him. He's another adult in the room, Juan, like we were talking about Mike Pence.

AMY GOODMAN: In December, I spoke to Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel about reports that Trump would replace Tillerson with Pompeo.

MARCY WHEELER: And there's no reason to believe Pompeo would do a better job. One of -- a couple of the things that Pompeo has been accused of at CIA is bringing religion into public events at the CIA. Cotton would probably continue those at CIA. But Pompeo would do the same, presumably, at State. He has de-emphasized diversity -- really important at both CIA and State Department. We would assume that he would continue to do that there. So, it's -- you know, there's no reason at all to believe that Mike Pompeo would start rebuilding the State Department in a way that we would need to happen. As I said, I think this is really about policy and really about especially Iran.

AMY GOODMAN: And this is President Trump speaking this morning outside the White House.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I've worked with Mike Pompeo now for quite some time. Tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. We're always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good. And that's what I need as secretary of state. I wish Rex Tillerson well. Gina, by the way, who I know very well, who I've worked very closely, will be the first woman director of the CIA. She is an outstanding person who also I have gotten to know very well. So I've gotten to know a lot of people very well over the last year, and I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want. But I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great secretary of state. I have total confidence in him. And as far as Rex Tillerson is concerned, I very much appreciate his commitment and his service, and I wish him well. He's a good man.

REPORTER 1: Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President, what did you tell Rex Tillerson? Mr. President, what did you say to Rex Tillerson?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We -- we got along actually quite well. But we disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it's going to go very well. Rex is a very good man. I like Rex a lot. I really appreciate his commitment and his service. And I'll be speaking to Rex over a long period of time.

REPORTER 2: Mr. President, [inaudible] --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I can't hear you.

REPORTER 2: [inaudible]

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, I really didn't discuss it very much with him, honestly. I made that decision by myself. Rex wasn't, as you know, in our -- in this country. I made the North Korea decision with consultation from many people, but I made that decision by myself.

REPORTER 3: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I actually got along well with Rex. But, really, it was a different mindset. It was a different thinking.

REPORTER 3: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

REPORTER 4: Why is Mike Pompeo the right man right now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What?

REPORTER 3: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

REPORTER 4: Why is Mike Pompeo the right man right now, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Say it again.

REPORTER 4: Why is Mike Pompeo the right man right now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I respect his intellect. I respect the process that we've all gone through together. We have a very good relationship, for whatever reason, chemistry, whatever it is. Why do people get along? I've always -- right from the beginning, from day one, I've gotten along well with Mike Pompeo.

And frankly, I get along well with Rex, too. And, you know, I wish Rex a lot of good things. I think he's going to do -- I think he's going to be very happy. I think Rex will be much happier now. But I really appreciate his service.

But with Mike, we've had a very good chemistry right from the beginning.

AMY GOODMAN: I'm Amy Goodman. Tune in to democracynow.org.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Juan González

Juan González co-hosts Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. González has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years and a staff columnist at the New York Daily News since 1987. He is a two-time recipient of the George Polk Award.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's "Meet the Press."

GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES
Optional Member Code

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


Trump Replaces Rex Tillerson With CIA Director Mike Pompeo at State; Torturer Named New Head of CIA

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 By Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said he'll replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump announced the news on Twitter this morning. He also said CIA's deputy director Gina Haspel will be tapped to succeed Pompeo at the CIA. Both would need to be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed Gina Haspel will become the first woman to head the CIA.

Gina Haspel was directly involved in the CIA's torture program under the George W. Bush administration. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were waterboarded and tortured. We air highlights from Democracy Now! coverage on Pompeo and Haspel.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, with this breaking news: President Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and says he'll replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump announced the news on Twitter this morning. He also said CIA's Deputy Director Gina Haspel will be tapped to succeed Pompeo at the CIA. Both would need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The move comes months after Tillerson reportedly called Trump an "f -- ing moron" during a meeting of national security officials. Trump responded to the report by challenging Tillerson to an IQ test.

If confirmed, Gina Haspel will become the first woman to head the CIA. Gina Haspel was directly involved in the CIA's torture program under George W. Bush. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were waterboarded and tortured.

Last year, I spoke with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept about Gina Haspel's record.

JEREMY SCAHILL: She was one of the people that ran a CIA black site where prisoners were mercilessly tortured, waterboarded, etc. And she, we understand, was the agent who led the destruction of the CIA torture tapes at the direction of the main torture ringleader, Jose Rodriguez, at the Central Intelligence Agency. That is the person who now is going to be the number two at Donald Trump's CIA. And Susan Rice, Obama's ambassador to the U.N., and all these other Democrats are up in arms because a Republican was bragging about her being, you know, the first woman to be named to such a high position, and that, in fact, Obama had also named a woman to a high position in the CIA. The objection is not the black site, not the torture, not the destruction of tapes, but that there was gender equality somehow under Obama, and now Trump has picked this woman. I mean, that's the state where we're at now in our discussion about these policies. The fact is that Trump's administration: Islamophobes, billionaires, bigots and torture lovers.

AMY GOODMAN: That's Jeremy Scahill. The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald tweeted today, "Haspel, who will be the first woman to [lead] CIA, didn't just oversee the Bush CIA's black site but directly participated in the horrific torture of detainees. She also participated in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah. This isn't a radical departure for CIA. After all, Haspel did this under George Tenet. At the time, John Brennan -- who became Obama's CIA director -- was an advocate of rendition & other torture methods. And Pompeo was fine with black sites. Still notable: she's an actual torturer." Those the words of Glenn Greenwald in a tweet today after Trump made his announcement.

Democracy Now! spoke to Jeremy Scahill about Mike Pompeo in November of 2016, soon after the election of President Trump.

JEREMY SCAHILL: What I think we're going to see with someone like Mike Pompeo, if he ends up being the CIA director, first of all, just on a side note that relates to the work we do at The Intercept, Pompeo basically has said that he thinks Edward Snowden should be killed and that he is a treasonous traitor and that he supports domestic surveillance operations, including against American citizens. He has a very strong anti-civil liberties background. And that's why he's getting praise from people like General Michael Hayden and others. Democrats also are speaking positively about him. He's another adult in the room, Juan, like we were talking about Mike Pence.

AMY GOODMAN: In December, I spoke to Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel about reports that Trump would replace Tillerson with Pompeo.

MARCY WHEELER: And there's no reason to believe Pompeo would do a better job. One of -- a couple of the things that Pompeo has been accused of at CIA is bringing religion into public events at the CIA. Cotton would probably continue those at CIA. But Pompeo would do the same, presumably, at State. He has de-emphasized diversity -- really important at both CIA and State Department. We would assume that he would continue to do that there. So, it's -- you know, there's no reason at all to believe that Mike Pompeo would start rebuilding the State Department in a way that we would need to happen. As I said, I think this is really about policy and really about especially Iran.

AMY GOODMAN: And this is President Trump speaking this morning outside the White House.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I've worked with Mike Pompeo now for quite some time. Tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. We're always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good. And that's what I need as secretary of state. I wish Rex Tillerson well. Gina, by the way, who I know very well, who I've worked very closely, will be the first woman director of the CIA. She is an outstanding person who also I have gotten to know very well. So I've gotten to know a lot of people very well over the last year, and I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want. But I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great secretary of state. I have total confidence in him. And as far as Rex Tillerson is concerned, I very much appreciate his commitment and his service, and I wish him well. He's a good man.

REPORTER 1: Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President, what did you tell Rex Tillerson? Mr. President, what did you say to Rex Tillerson?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We -- we got along actually quite well. But we disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it's going to go very well. Rex is a very good man. I like Rex a lot. I really appreciate his commitment and his service. And I'll be speaking to Rex over a long period of time.

REPORTER 2: Mr. President, [inaudible] --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I can't hear you.

REPORTER 2: [inaudible]

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, I really didn't discuss it very much with him, honestly. I made that decision by myself. Rex wasn't, as you know, in our -- in this country. I made the North Korea decision with consultation from many people, but I made that decision by myself.

REPORTER 3: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I actually got along well with Rex. But, really, it was a different mindset. It was a different thinking.

REPORTER 3: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

REPORTER 4: Why is Mike Pompeo the right man right now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What?

REPORTER 3: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

REPORTER 4: Why is Mike Pompeo the right man right now, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Say it again.

REPORTER 4: Why is Mike Pompeo the right man right now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I respect his intellect. I respect the process that we've all gone through together. We have a very good relationship, for whatever reason, chemistry, whatever it is. Why do people get along? I've always -- right from the beginning, from day one, I've gotten along well with Mike Pompeo.

And frankly, I get along well with Rex, too. And, you know, I wish Rex a lot of good things. I think he's going to do -- I think he's going to be very happy. I think Rex will be much happier now. But I really appreciate his service.

But with Mike, we've had a very good chemistry right from the beginning.

AMY GOODMAN: I'm Amy Goodman. Tune in to democracynow.org.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Juan González

Juan González co-hosts Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. González has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years and a staff columnist at the New York Daily News since 1987. He is a two-time recipient of the George Polk Award.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's "Meet the Press."