Why I Voted No on Trump’s CIA Director
Below is my floor speech laying out my concerns about Rep. Pompeo — Trump’s nominee for CIA director. He holds extreme views on surveillance and torture and I have serious concerns he will be transparent with Congress or the American people.
Today we have the opportunity in the Senate to do something we usually doesn’t do –have an open debate about the future of the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is an enormously important and valuable part of our government. It is staffed by thousands and thousands of patriotic people who make incredible sacrifices on our behalf. They work hard to protect our country in many ways the American people will never know. They give up time with their families. Many have risked their lives defending us. And some have sacrificed their lives.
We don’t generally discuss the CIA on the Senate floor because of the need to protect those people and to protect sources and methods. Sources and methods are the secret means by which the CIA gets the information needed for our national security, and they need to stay classified. But what we can talk about are the policies that guide what the CIA does. The nomination of a CIA Director is a rare and important chance to talk about what the nominee thinks those policies should be.
Here’s my guiding principle. Smart policies protect Americans’ security and their liberty. These are not mutually exclusive. For example, nothing captures this debate more than encryption, an issue we will be discussing at length in the future. Strong encryption protects Americans from foreign hackers, criminals, identity thieves, stalkers and other bad actors. It also preserves Americans’ liberty and privacy. That is why I have been fighting against proposals for mandated government backdoors into our digital communications. In my view, this is an example of the policies coming increasingly out of Washington that have given us neither security nor liberty.
The principle that we need security and liberty is how I look at the Intelligence Community and this is what I believe we need to think about with regard to the nomination of Congressman Mike Pompeo to be Director of the CIA.
After consideration of his testimony and a review of his past statements and responses to written questions, I have concluded that he is the wrong person for the job.
He has endorsed extreme policies that don’t make us safer, while eroding our basic liberties. He has refused to provide meaningful responses to my questions about those views. And, when he has provided responses, they have often been either so vague, or so contradictory, that it is impossible to know what he believes or what he might do if he is confirmed.
On issue after issue, he has taken two, three or four positions, depending on when he says it and who he’s talking to. He has done thisabout surveillance, about torture, about Russia, and about a number of other subjects. So here we are at the end of this confirmation process. We’ve had a hearing. I met with the nominee in private. We’ve submitted two sets of questions, both before and after the hearing. And despite all that, it’s been impossible to pin him down on exactly what he believes or how he would lead the CIA.
Let me start with surveillance. Just over a year ago, Congressman Pompeo wrote in an op-ed that “Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata.” This was a reference to the program in which the government collected and kept the phone records of tens of millions of innocent Americans. When the American people found out about this program, they were rightly horrified and the rejected it, which was why, on a bipartisan basis, Congress abolished it through the USA FREEDOM Act. That law got the government out of the business of collecting everyone’s phone records and it did nothing to harm our security. For example, I included in it a provision that allowed the government in an emergency to get the phone records immediately and then go back later and seek court approval. Representative Pompeo himself voted for the USA FREEDOM Act before he turned around, eight months later, and wrote that he wanted to re-establish this sweeping and unnecessary program.
So what does he believe? Does he stand by his vote to abolish the NSA phone records dragnet? Was that what he was suggesting when he brought up that vote during his hearing? Or does he stand by what he wrote in the op-ed?
In responses to questions, Congressman Pompeo wrote that he believes that the collection of tens of millions of Americans’ telephone records “provided a significant tool for the Intelligence Community” and that “I have not changed my position.” That sounds like an endorsement of the mass surveillance of phone records. But, again, in the hearing, he said something else. Senator Heinrich asked him whether he had been briefed on whether the current process whereby the government collects phone records on an individual basis rather than in bulk from millions of Americans, even if they are not suspected of any crime, and whether the current process protects the country as well as the liberty of millions of innocent Americans. Congressman Pompeo is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, so he has had the opportunity to be briefed on this topic. But this was his response to Senator Heinrich: “Senator, I’ve not had a chance to have a complete briefing on that, but I can say that I have not heard anything that suggests that there is a need for change today.”
In other words, in just a matter of days Congressman Pompeo has taken the position, first that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was “a significant tool” and that it should be reestablished, and second, while,testifying to the Committee, that he has no basis on which to believe that it is necessary. I simply do not know how to square these conflicting statements. What worries me is that, if were to be confirmed as CIA Director, the doors would close and he would operates in secret. And yet Americans do not know which position he would take in running the CIA. The American people have no idea how Congressman Pompeo would advise the President and his national security team on what is truly necessary to protect the country.
Telephone records are not the only communications records we need to be concerned about. Until a few years ago, the NSA also ran a program in which millions of Americans’ email records were collected. Since Congressman Pompeo had written that he wanted to re-establish collection of “all metadata,” I asked him whether he would support the resumption of that program as well, and whether he believed that millions of Americans’ email records should be combined with millions of Americans’ phone records. He could have said no. He could have clarified that he was only talking about phone records. Instead, he refused to take a position. In fact, he even indicated that he would be open to including email records in his database. His exact words were: “If I am confirmed, and Agency officials inform me they believe the current programs and legal framework are insufficient to protect the country, I would make appropriate recommendations for any needed changes to laws and regulations.”
Now what’s especially troubling about this is that the bulk email program was discontinued because it wasn’t effective. I spent considerable time pressing intelligence officials to provide evidence that it was necessary to collect all those email records. In the end, the NSA decided to take a look at it and concluded that it was not needed. That’s not a judgment about whether the program violated Americans’ privacy, which of course it did. That’s the NSA’s determination that, in its words, the program did not meet the NSA’s “operational expectations.”
This is public information, and of course, all the details are available to the House Intelligence Committee on which Congressman Pompeo sits. This should have been an easy answer for Congressman Pompeo. But he refused to rule out the inclusion of millions of Americans’ email records — records the NSA has said it doesn’t need — into his massive government database.
But the collection of phone and email records of millions of innocent Americans is small potatoes compared to what Congressman Pompeo wrote next. His proposal was to combine all this communications metadata with — and these are his exact words — “publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database.” This is far bigger and far more encompassing than any bulk metadata program or anything that the Bush-Cheney administration ever imagined. I’ve been a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee since before September 11. I’ve been in the middle of countless national debates about the appropriate scope of government surveillance. But I have never heard — not from anyone — an idea so extreme, so overreaching, and so intrusive of Americans’ privacy.
I wanted to give Congressman Pompeo every opportunity to explain what he was actually proposing. So, during the confirmation hearing and in submitted questions, I tried to find out what this database would include and what, if anything, it would not include. I got no substantive answers. Instead, Congressman Pompeo gave the Intelligence Committee word salad, with a liberal helping of weasel words.
Congressman Pompeo did mention social media in his answers. But it is one thing for the government to read the social media postings of an American because there is a specific reason to do so. It is something else entirely to create a giant government database of everyone’s social media postings and to match that up with everyone’s telephone records. So where would Congressman Pompeo draw the line? He won’t say.
But Congressman Pompeo’s vision of this vast government database doesn’t even stop with social media. What he wrote in his responses to my questions was that he was “generally” referring to publicly available information on the internet or other “public databases.” Let me repeat that. He was generally talking about information already in the public. That raised the question of what else he would consider entering into a giant government database of information on millions of innocent Americans. For example, did he have in mind information on Americans that the government could obtain or purchase from third parties, such as data brokers who collect information on Americans’ purchasing history? Imagine putting every American’s purchases into a government database, along with their social media postings and all their telephone records.
After two rounds of submitted questions and a hearing, we still don’t know what Congressman Pompeo meant when he referred to “all metadata” or how he defines “publicly available financial and lifestyle information.” What we do know is that he didn’t walk back this proposal; he just refused to talk about it.
How He Dodges Questions
The responses I did get from Congressman Pompeo, on this and other topics, fell into three categories. First, I’ll do what’s legal. Second, when it comes to Americans’ privacy, that’s the FBI’s problem, not the CIA’s. And third, as CIA Director, I won’t do policy. Let me talk about why each of these are unacceptable answers.
First, I asked Congressman Pompeo if there were any boundaries to his proposed vast database on Americans. His response was this: “of course there are boundaries; any collection and retention must be conducted in accordance with the Constitution, statutes, and applicable presidential directives.” But that’s not a response. Just because the government may be able to legally obtain information on Americans on an individualized or limited basis doesn’t necessarily make it legal, much less appropriate to create a vast database with all kinds of information on everyone. And if you take his response to mean that the only boundaries are those established by law, then it is worth considering how the Intelligence Community has frequently interpreted the legal parameters in which it operates: flexibly and in secret.
Even if you imagine that there are established legal boundaries that would rein in Congressman Pompeo’s CIA, consider what he himself has said about those legal boundaries. He wrote in his op-ed that: “legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.” It is also significant that, throughout his responses to questions, he refers to CIA policies, procedures and regulations. As CIA Director, he would be in a position to change those.
Congressman Pompeo can’t have it both ways — he can’t say he is bound only by legal restrictions and avoid saying what he thinks those restrictions should be.
The nominee’s second way to avoid answering these questions was by arguing that concerns about the privacy of Americans are the business of the FBI, not the CIA. This is just not the case. There is a long, ugly history related to the CIA and domestic intelligence, which the Church Committee documented back in the 1970s. Let me be clear — I do not believe the CIA is up to anything like this today. But the possibility of returning to those days is very much present if the Director of the CIA takes a flexible approach to the rules that are intended to keep the CIA out of the lives of American citizens. Let me provide a few examples.
On January 3rd, the DNI put out new procedures about the distribution within the Intelligence Community of what is called “raw” signals intelligence. These are the actual content of communications, as opposed to an analyst’s report about those communications. According to the new procedures, these communications can be provided to the CIA if the CIA Director asks the NSA for them and explains why the CIA needs them. Here’s why this matters to the privacy of Americans. When “raw” communications are distributed to the CIA, they include the communications of Americans that have been sucked up in the overall collection. So now the CIA has them. According to the new procedures, in some circumstances, the Director of the CIA can approve CIA searches of that data for the communications of Americans. The Director of the CIA can also approve the use of Americans’ communications. So the question is, how would Congressman Pompeo exercise these authorities? We don’t know.
Another example are the CIA’s own procedures for dealing with information on Americans. Just last week, the CIA updated those procedures in a 41-page public document. They cover, for example, the CIA’s collection of vast amounts of information that include the communications of, or information about Americans — what can be collected by the CIA, what can be kept by the CIA, what can be distributed by the CIA. The new procedures also cover when CIA officers are required, and when they are not required to identify themselves when participating in organizations in the United States.
Just reading these procedures makes it clear that the CIA’s activities bump up against the privacy interests of Americans all the time. That’s why these regulations exist. But if a CIA Director has extreme views with regard to the privacy of Americans, that could very well be reflected in how the CIA implements these procedures or whether they get rewritten. How would Congressman Pompeo apply all these rules? Would he propose new ones to make it easier for the CIA to look at more information about Americans? We don’t know.
One thing is clear, though: the views of the CIA Director about the privacy of Americans are just as relevant as those of the FBI Director.
The nominee’s third effort to avoid discussing his positions was to say that, as CIA Director, he wouldn’t be responsible for policy. As he asserted in his opening statement at the hearing, he would “change roles from policymaker to information provider.”
But anyone familiar with the role of the CIA Director knows that is not what happens. First, the CIA Director does far more than deliver analysis to government officials. Collection priorities, methods of collection, relationships with foreign services, covert action and many other responsibilities of the office are policy matters. In addition, the CIA Director and other leaders of the Intelligence Community are asked repeatedly what they think is necessary and appropriate to keep the country safe. At a moment of crisis, those questions are especially pressing. We now know what happens when, in those moments, those leaders give the wrong answers. After September 11, the directors of the NSA and the CIA offered their views of what should be done, and we ended up with programs that ripped at the very fabric of our democracy: warrantless wiretapping and torture.
The Director of the CIA is a unique position. When someone is nominated to lead a department that operates more or less openly, at least the public can assess his or her performance. At least a fully informed Congress can respond when he or she implements wrongheaded policies. But the CIA director operates in secret. What the public finds out is entirely up to the CIA and the administration.
When it comes to deciding whether this is the right person for the job, there is nothing for the public, and most of Congress, to go on, other than what the nominee has said before, and during, the confirmation process. Unless Congressman Pompeo intends to be a historically transparent CIA Director, and there are no indications of that, then this is a one-time shot.
That is why I do not consider the vetting process to be finished. On the topic of his proposed database and on a range of other topics, both classified and unclassified, Congressman Pompeo has failed to provide substantive responses. And so I have resubmitted my questions to him. Now, some on the other side have said Congressman Pompeo has answered every question. They claim this is just stalling, for political reasons. So let me be very specific about what I mean when I say that the Senate has not received responsive answers. The facts show Congressman Pompeo has gone to extraordinary lengths to dodge, evade and tiptoe around nearly every question put to him.
We held our hearing on January 12th. I asked Congressman Pompeo about what information he would put in his “comprehensive, searchable” database. I did not get a meaningful response and so I said at the hearing that I would like the nominee to furnish in writing what limits he envisions with regard to that database. The next day, I sent over specific questions.
For example, I asked him in writing, just as I had at the hearing, what are the boundaries to collection on Americans who are not connected to a specific investigation. This is fundamental. Congressman Pompeo proposed a vast and sweeping new database. Where does it end?
Congressman Pompeo responded by saying that publicly available information can be useful in stopping terrorist attacks and that publicly available information involves fewer privacy concerns compared to surveillance. I agree entirely on both counts. No one disputes these things. The question, which remains unanswered to this day, is whether publicly available information on every American should be gathered up into what Congressman Pompeo has called a “comprehensive, searchable database.”
After the hearing, I also sent a written question about whether, if information on an American is legally available to the government on an individualized or limited basis, that makes it legal or appropriate to compile it in bulk in a giant database. Congressman Pompeo had testified that the boundaries of his database of “publicly available financial and lifestyle information” were legal. So that raises the question: is this giant database legal or not? Here’s how he responded: “I have not consulted legal experts.” That’s it. That’s his answer. So, again, we have no idea what “publicly available financial and lifestyle information” he thinks should go into this database.
Here’s one more question I submitted. I asked if his comprehensive database could include information from third parties, such as data brokers. Let me read Congressman Pompeo’s response in full. “I have not studied what information is available from third parties and the applicable legal restrictions on obtaining such information.” That’s it. Nothing more. He could have said he wasn’t contemplating the inclusion of this information in his database. Or he could have elaborated on what he did mean. But he did neither. He just stonewalled the question.
I remind my colleagues, these questions were prompted by Congressman Pompeo’s own words. He is the one who proposed a vast database on innocent Americans and he now refuses to articulate the boundaries of this extreme proposal. These are basic questions that are directly relevant to the nomination. And they are questions that our constituents need answered. Americans thought that, after the USA FREEDOM Act was passed, the government was out of the bulk collection business. Now we’re talking about a nominee to be CIA Director who not only wants to bring it back but proposes something that makes the collection of millions of telephone records look like nothing. That is why I wanted this debate to happen in the light of day, rather than late Friday night in the middle of the inauguration parties. So that the American people understand who and what their Senators are voting on.
When I receive meaningful answers to these and other questions, I will consider the confirmation process completed. Until then, I do not believe that our work in reviewing the nominee and his views is done. This is the only way to pin down this nominee who has repeatedly taken multiple positions with regard to very important issues. This is, after all, someone who proposed the most sweeping new surveillance program I have ever heard of and yet testified — these are his words — “I take a back seat to no one with respect to protecting Americans’ privacy.”
I also tried to get answers from Congressman Pompeo about the outsourcing of surveillance against Americans.
During the campaign, the president invited the Russian Government to conduct hacking operations against his political opponent. The president also said, with regard to Russian hacking, that he would “love to have that power.” So the question I wanted answered is what would happen if the Russians, or some other foreign entity, collected the communications of Americans and, instead of giving them to Wikileaks, provided them directly to our government. This could be information about American political leaders and activists, journalists, religious leaders, businesspeople and regular innocent Americans. At the hearing, Congressman Pompeo testified that it is not lawful to outsource collection that the CIA is not authorized to conduct itself, which sounds reassuring. The problem is that we are in a world in which the President of the United States has already openly encouraged a foreign adversary to use its hacking capabilities to attack our democracy. What if that foreign adversary does it again and provides the fruits of that hacking to the government without waiting for a specific invitation from the CIA. Then what?
In his responses to questions, Congressman Pompeo wrote that only in “very limited circumstances” would the collection of American’s communication be so improper that it would be inappropriate for the CIA to receive, use or disseminate them. I asked what those circumstances would be, but he responded only that it was “highly fact specific.” The vagueness of this response is extremely troubling. So I asked a series of specific questions. What if the information came from an adversary rather than an ally? Did it matter what the intent of the foreign partner was — to support our national security or further disrupt our democracy? Did it matter if the information was about Americans engaged in First Amendment-protected activities, rather than about terrorist suspects? What if the information provided the government involved thousands or millions of U.S. persons? I received no substantive answer other than that all these issues were “relevant.”
Other Surveillance Matters
I and other members of the Committee asked a number of other questions related to the collection and use of information on Americans. I want to highlight two more. First, I asked Congressman Pompeo about Section 702 of FISA, specifically about the government’s back-door searches of data for information on Americans. He responded that the CIA can conduct these warrantless searches if they are “reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information.” This is troubling enough, and is an issue we will need to take up when considering the reauthorization of Section 702. Perhaps even more concerning, however, was Congressman Pompeo’s statement that, when we’re talking about collection outside of FISA, the rules about what the CIA can access, query, use, disseminate and retain should be even more broad and flexible. How much broader and more flexible can you get than the standard that currently applies to Section 702?
Second, I asked Congressman Pompeo about encryption, an issue on which I believed he held moderate positions. But all he would say was that it was a “complicated issue” and that he knew enough “to begin to form judgments.” This is a critical topic that has been discussed extensively in Congress. It was my hope that the nominee would already have formed judgments and could express them to the American people prior to a confirmation vote.
I was also not reassured by Congressman Pompeo’s shifting statements about torture. As late as 2014, he cited ending the CIA’s torture program as purported evidence that President Obama had refused to take counterterrorism seriously. This was an extreme view. By then, even many members of Congress who had previously supported the program believed that it was best left in the past. But not Congressman Pompeo.
But then we come to his hearing, when he emphasized his commitment to the 2015 law that limits interrogation techniques to those authorized by the Army Field Manual. That sounded good. But a review of his responses to the Committee’s questions reveal far more troubling views. For example, he was asked about his statements in 2014 and whether he believed that the CIA’s interrogation program should be resumed. He responded that he would have consultations about whether there should be “changes to current interrogation or detention programs involving CIA.”
As for the Army Field Manual, he wrote that he’s planning on consultations, including with “experts at the Agency,” on “whether the Army Field Manual uniform application is an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country or whether any rewrite of the Army Field Manual is needed.” The fact is that the Army Field Manual could be improved — to further clarify that the U.S. government should rely on the noncoercive techniques that are the most effective. But given Congressman Pompeo’s statements in support of torture, it’s not clear that that’s what he has in mind.
Moreover, the nominee is not just talking about changes to the Army Field Manual, he is expressing openness to ditching the entire thing, at least as far as the CIA is concerned. The fundamental premise of the McCain-Feinstein legislation in 2015 was that the Army Field Manual would apply uniformly across the U.S. government — including the Department of Defense and the CIA. So while he may have testified that McCain-Feinstein is the law, he plans on questioning whether the whole thing should be tossed out. And who are the “experts at the Agency” he plans to ask about this? There are certainly CIA officers who understand the importance of uniform standards and recognize the effectiveness of noncoercive interrogation techniques. But if he’s talking about individuals associated with the CIA’s torture program, then we should all dread what the answer will be.
In other words, reading the nominee’s responses to written questions is very different that listening to his testimony. His written responses indicate both an openness to resuming the CIA’s interrogation program and questions about whether the Army Field Manual should apply to the CIA.
Part of what is so problematic about all this hedging is that Congressman Pompeo does not seem familiar with the broad consensus that torture, in addition to being illegal, immoral and contrary to our national values, does not work. This is, of course, documented extensively in the Committee’s torture report — not just the 500 page Executive Summary but the 6,700 page full report. But there is an ever-growing body of additional evidence. For example, the role of interrogating high-level terrorist suspects has been given in recent years to the interagency High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group or HIG, which does not torture. Congressman Pompeo was asked whether he believed the HIG is effective, a topic with which he should be familiar as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He responded that he hadn’t studied that question. Congressman Pompeo was also asked about the HIG’s report last year that detailed how noncoercive interrogation techniques are more effective. The nominee refused to express an opinion on whether he agreed with the report.
All of this is problematic because, as in the case of surveillance, Congressman Pompeo has not considered whether we can do without highly problematic programs at no cost to our security. Just as we can have security and liberty, we can have security and maintain our national values. We just have to be open to that possibility.
Congressman Pompeo’s extremely troubling views on torture were most apparent in the incendiary statements he made in December 2014 when the Intelligence Committee released the torture report. He referred to criticism of the CIA torture program as a “liberal game,” as if this view hadn’t also been expressed by some of the most conservative members of Congress and dozens of retired U.S. generals and admirals. He also leveled a series of insults against then-Chairman Feinstein, including saying that the release was “quintessentially at odds with her duty to the country.” Many Senators, from both parties, supported the release of that report. Congressman Pompeo’s statement was a direct attack on the patriotism of all those senators.
The nominee also said that the release of the report “will ultimately cause Americans to be killed.” The torture report was not some leak. The CIA redacted sources and methods, as well as names, pseudonyms and, in some cases, even titles. So I asked Congressman Pompeo whether he thought the CIA had failed to protect Americans. He said he hadn’t looked into it. In other words, he just asserted that the release of the report would cause Americans to be killed without having considered whether the CIA had adequately protected against that.
When an intelligence program such as the CIA’s torture program raises so many questions, about our laws, our policies, and about our fundamental values, the American people deserve to know about it. And when the President of the United States has repeatedly advocated for torture, it is critical that there be a public debate based on the facts. If that can be done while protecting sources and methods, openness is an imperative. That is why Congressman Pompeo’s statements about the release of the torture report are still so relevant. They call into question his commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability at a time in which the country desperately needs both.
Congressman Pompeo’s responses to a number of other questions I posed raise further concerns about a lack of transparency. I asked him if he would commit to correcting inaccurate public statements. He responded that that would not always be possible and that it would be his “bias” to correct his own inaccurate statements. That is not good enough. As we saw in the case of the DNI’s public testimony about surveillance, when the American people learn that intelligence officials have made inaccurate statements to them, it fundamentally erodes the trust between the public and the government, and that is not good for anyone.
I also asked Congressman Pompeo whether, if a U.S. ambassador tells the CIA to cease activities in his or her country, the CIA is obligated to comply. Despite a clear statute that establishes this authority, the nominee refused to answer. This raises questions not only about how the CIA under Congressman Pompeo would operate but also about whether the CIA will maintain secret interpretations of the law.
Finally, let me talk about Congressman Pompeo’s shifting views on the Intelligence Community’s assessments with regard to Russia and the U.S. election. On January 3rd, he submitted responses to pre-hearing questions. At the time, then-President elect Trump was still dismissing the IC’s assessments, including the October 7, 2016, statement from the DNI and DHS that the Russian Government had interfered in our election. Remember that Congressman Pompeo is a member of the House Intelligence Community, so he had every opportunity to judge that assessment for himself. But when he was asked about the IC’s assessment by the Committee, all he would say was that it was a “serious assessment of attribution and charge against another country,” and that it “should be taken seriously.” That’s it. He wouldn’t say whether he agreed with the IC or not. In fact, he even defended the president-elect’s dismissal of the IC’s assessments, saying that the “context” for the president-elect’s statements was political criticisms of him and the election. That was extremely disturbing. Whatever politics are going on have nothing to do with whether the IC’s assessments about Russia were or were not accurate.
But then everything changed. On January 11, the president-elect said, “as far as the hacking, I think it was Russia.” The next day, at our hearing, the nominee did not hedge. He said the IC’s analysis was sound. But that was a position he could have taken before, when the president-elect did not yet want to hear it.
We are headed into dangerous times. We need a CIA Director who is straightforward and direct about his beliefs and his assessments. We need a CIA Director whose views of intelligence aren’t shaped by what the President wants to hear.
Congressman Pompeo’s evolution on whether he agreed with the IC’s assessment on Russia and our election is just one of the many problematic aspects of this nomination. Time and time again, he has taken multiple positions on the same issue, which is why I have given him numerous opportunities to explain where he stands. But as I’ve explained, that turned out to be impossible.
I still have not received adequate responses to my questions, which is why I resubmitted them to Congressman Pompeo. I should also note that I sent him classified questions as well. His responses to those questions were equally unresponsive so I asked again for direct, substantive answers. I have received nothing. For that reason, I do not consider this nomination to have been fully vetted.
But we are now prepared to vote on this nomination and what I have heard leads me to conclude that Congressman Pompeo should not be confirmed. He has held extreme views on surveillance, torture and other issues. His positions on surveillance have failed to recognize that we can, in fact, have both security and liberty. He has demonstrated hostility toward transparency, even when sources and methods were not involved. His views on the most fundamental issue today for our American system — the involvement of Russia in our election — seemed to shift with those of the President. And his changing positions on all of these matters suggests that, at this rare moment when the American people actually have an opportunity to know who it is we are entrusting with one of the weightiest and most secret positions in government, they will be denied that chance. That is why I urge my colleagues to oppose this nomination.
I yield the floor.