When Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo gave his first public speech after taking charge last year, national security expert Juan Zarate asked him about a recent foreign trip to Turkey and the Gulf.
“Why did you go there first, and what did you hear?” Zarate wondered.
“I wanted them to know that this was an Administration that wanted them to think about (terrorism) differently and to be true partners in this defeat of terrorism in the Middle East,” Pompeo said.
For the past 14 months, Pompeo brought that same attitude to the CIA.
The proof is in the results, which have been exemplary.
When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack against his own people last April, the CIA quickly provided President Donald J. Trump with the intelligence he needed to decide to launch missile strikes against the Syrian regime.
In fact, the CIA under Director Pompeo has been at the heart of some of the Trump Administration’s biggest foreign policy accomplishments.
The CIA helped preserve the integrity of North Korean sanctions, using creative, new methods to enable the interception of shipments that violate terms.
The agency also works with the Department of Defense and U.S. allies to target ISIS leadership and reduce ISIS territorial holdings — now down to virtually zero percent of its former caliphate.
Part of that success comes from proven experience.
Pompeo has been privy to some of America’s toughest national security challenges since 2010, when he served on the House Intelligence Committee as a freshman member of Congress.
Two decades earlier, he patrolled the Iron Curtain as a U.S. Cavalry officer in West Germany before the Berlin Wall fell.
In truth, Pompeo was a leader long before he arrived in Washington. As a scholar, he graduated first in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and later served as editor of the Harvard Law Review.
As an entrepreneur, he founded Thayer Aerospace, which provides components for commercial and military aircraft, and he served as its chief executive officer for more than a decade.
This storied career adds up to one certainty: Pompeo would be ready to lead the State Department on day one. With the grave threats facing our country abroad, America needs him as our next secretary of state.
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