Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director has a history of depicting conflict in the Middle East as an epic holy-war between Christianity and Islam, according to multiple videos unearthed by the Intercept.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican and prominent member of the House Intelligence Committee, was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, America’s premier clandestine service. The retired Army captain, who graduated from West Point and is a former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is a model for the type of Republican lawmaker progressives often condemn.
Pompeo demonizes Muslims; is a member of the National Rifle Association; has received large sums of money from Koch Industries; believes raped women should be denied abortions; supports the indefinite detention of military prisoners without charge at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which he fervently opposes shuttering; and is a proponent of the dragnet phone surveillance carried out by the National Security Agency against Americans for nearly a decade—a program ruled illegal last year by a three-judge panel at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
“Jesus Christ is our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”
In a series of videos described by investigative journalist Lee Fang of the Intercept, Pompeo presents his views on U.S. national security before Christian-right audiences. Addressing a church group in Wichita, Kansas, in 2014, Pompeo asserted that Christianity was the “only solution” to combat terrorism:
“They abhor Christians,” he said, “and will continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”
At an event hosted by a Virginia-based think tank last year, Pompeo chose not to challenge the views of an audience member who claimed President Barack Obama was working to fortify Iran’s regime. Instead, he cracked a joke about how trying to get in the president’s head was running up his family’s “psychiatric care bill.” Once again, he framed wars in which the U.S. is involved as being “between the Christian West and the Islamic East.”
Last year, Pompeo spoke at Summit Church Kansas—the church’s website advertises a “Paranormal Team” led by a former law enforcement officer who claims to have performed “house cleansings and spiritual exorcisms”—where he spoke on the topic of “evil” and warned churchgoers not to be discouraged by accusations of Islamophobia.
Accepting his appointment to head the CIA—an agency which, under Obama, has carried out drone strikes against American citizens abroad— Pompeo said he was honored to work with Trump to keep Americans safe. “I also look forward to working with America’s intelligence warriors, who do so much to protect Americans each and every day,” he said.