Democrats loyal to former President Barack Obama are waging a behind-the-scenes effort to undermine President Donald Trump’s national security team by blocking key appointees, according to multiple sources familiar with the outgoing administration’s efforts.
The centerpiece of this obstruction is the recent refusal by Senate Democrats to quickly confirm incoming CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Democratic leaders—including Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Patrick Leahy (Vt.)—postponed Pompeo’s confirmation, claiming they need more time to debate the pick, which is widely supported by a majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The decision to stall Pompeo’s vote, a move that will leave the critical post of CIA director vacant as Trump takes office, is part of a wider effort by the outgoing administration and its allies to hamstring Trump on the national security front, according to multiple sources, including those close to the Trump administration.
Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA director who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, told the Washington Free Beacon that he is “puzzled by the objections recently raised” by Senate Democrats.
“It’s hell being the political football,” Hayden said Saturday afternoon, ahead of a visit by both Trump and Pompeo to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
Democrats cited Hayden’s role under Bush and Obama as a precedent for Pompeo’s holdup.
“Just as Director Hayden served as a bridge between the Bush and Obama presidencies eight years ago, Director [John] Brennan could play the same role for the incoming and outgoing administrations, if the President is willing to keep him on,” Matt House, a Schumer spokesman, said in a recent press statement.
Democrats opposing Pompeo have expressed concerns about his desire to combat terrorism by boosting the collection of personal data in the United States. They also have raised concerns about Pompeo’s stance on enhanced interrogation techniques.
Hayden dismissed these concerns, saying Democratic talking points on the matter are unconvincing.
“With regard to interrogations and surveillance, Congressman Pompeo said that he would follow the law. If his intelligence professionals advised him that current law denied him intelligence opportunities that would be otherwise available, he would so advise the Congress so that they could discuss and debate whether changes in the law might be indicated,” Hayden said. “That is the essence of a professional carrying out his duty within the American political context.”
There is nothing abnormal about Pompeo’s desire to potentially strengthen the interrogation techniques available to the U.S. military, Hayden said.
I love the fact that all it took for democrats to suddenly feel spying on Americans was a bad thing that we shouldn’t be doing was for a republican to be elected! Maybe they should also ask him what his take is on drone striking as many people as possible, including Americans citizens, without due process. Cause if he is against that he certainly is taking a radical turn away from the way the Obama administration did things.
Note that I am all OK with drone striking non-Americans without any due process. Enemy combatants are enemy combatants, and while collateral damage sucks, people that hide behind human shields and then use that to play martyrs, need to be denied that benefit. But not American citizens. And Obama smoked a few of those and claimed he had the authority to just do whatever he wanted.
My point is that changing the letter next to the president’s name sure as hell made the left all righteous and concerned about abuse again for some reason…..