The CIA Director confirmation hearings

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, January 10th, 2017 - 17 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, International, us politics - Tags: ,

On January 11th Mr Michael Pompeo will have his confirmation hearing to be President Elect Donald Trump’s Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA. For some reason it reminds me of a diligent U.S. Senator called Frank Church.

In the summer of 1975, on NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’, Senator Church reported on completing a comprehensive investigation of the U.S. intelligence community.

He had come away stunned by what he had found at the National Security Agency (NSA), even in that digital stone age: “That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. There would be no place to hide … I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America.” The report is worth having a look at, even over 40 years old.

His report was like a textbook example straight out of Robert Higgs’ famous work Crisis and Leviathan, where the state never decreases and always accretes power and scale by calling upon the necessity of crisis again and again and again to gain further executive capacity.

In 2013, Edward Snowden echoed Frank Church. “A new leader will be elected, they’ll find the switch, say that ‘Because of the crisis, because of the dangers in the world, some new and unprecedented threat, we need more authority, we need more power'”, Snowden said in an interview with Glenn Greenwald. “And there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.”

Trump is about to be handed those keys.

In a December 2015 radio interview Trump expressed support for the NSA collection of telephone metadata, which is now outlawed. “As far as I’m concerned, that would be fine. When you have the world looking at us and would like to destroy us as quickly as possible, I err on the side of security.” This interview was well before he was the Republican candidate for President. He is about to become the President. Trump’s view on Snowden was that in the past such spies had been executed.

Which brings me to Mr Pompeo. Mike Pompeo is Trump’s chosen head of the CIA. Mr Pompeo wrote in the Wall Street Journal in January 2016: “Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with all publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.”  He has also called for Snowden to be executed.

This is different to the current President’s approach. The Snowden revelations of 2014 had an effect. President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive 28 of 2014 states that surveillance can’t ever be used, for instance, to give U.S. companies a competitive edge, or to quell dissent abroad.

I hope to see Mike Pompeo questioned about this, and about how he will execute President Trump’s policy intent. Trump of course now has the pen to rescind such Presidential orders.

Sure, I worry about Trump’s access to the nuclear codes. What should concern us all more is his direction on domestic spying through all kinds of metadata and all kinds of financial and lifestyle information, on all kinds of people.

17 comments on “The CIA Director confirmation hearings”

  1. tc 1

    Poacher and gamekeeper….what could possibly go wrong as they look after THEIR free world

  2. adam 2

    Some Muppet’s on this forum keeps banging on how trump will be the agent of change, except his cabinet choices are all 1%ers of the deranged persuasion.

    This guy is defiantly on the dangerously paranoid end of right wing politics. A believer – a true believer, one which that thinks just by me writing this, I hate him and america.

    You Ad, are right royally done.

    The state has effectively given up on all responsibility to the people, the US state is more and more just a tool with which to use it’s greatest monopoly – violence.

    I can’t see how this is going to change anytime soon.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    1) Your summary on the front page says Pompey

    2) If intrusive mass surveillance continues under the Trump era it will be because of Obama’s approval of those systems, and also Obama’s crushing of whistleblowers during the tenure of his Administration.

    3) Trump has filled up his Cabinet with strong men and alpha females. Good on him. Snowflakes won’t cut it.

    • Ad 3.1

      If President Trump chooses to override PPD 28 and enable really intrusive data collection of persons as well as metadata collection, it will be because President Trump has chosen to do so.

      It will also be the responsibility of the Head of the CIA, which is his appointment.

      President Trump has a chance to change the intelligence community. On the one hand he has shown a healthy skepticism of their capacity. On the other hand he would prefer to execute whistleblowers.

      President Trump will, together with the leadership he hires to execute his will, be solely responsible for the intelligence gathering policies of his new government.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        If President Trump chooses to override PPD 28 and enable really intrusive data collection of persons as well as metadata collection, it will be because President Trump has chosen to do so.

        The NSA didn’t build hundred thousand square feet data storage facilities for the sake of storing metadata.

        And I didn’t hear any news of any of these data storage facilities, eg in Utah, shutting down after PPD 28.

        President Trump has a chance to change the intelligence community…On the other hand he would prefer to execute whistleblowers.

        Let’s see what happens. I think Trump understands the importance of whistleblowers in a different way now.

        He’ll have to work very hard to persecute whistleblowers more than Barack Hussein Obama. Forcing down the official jet of a foreign leader etc because they thought Snowden was onboard etc.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          The President Elect has been inferring for a while that a comprehensive and structural review of all the intelligence agencies is on the cards. But I don’t see that turning into an actuality until the main overall head of intelligence is confirmed, and until Trump actually generates some solid structural policy about intelligence full stop.

          Hopefully the intelligence community gets a proper direction out of his first confirmation speech, if not the first State of the Union.

          My one piece of CIA wish list is that there be a single entity responsible for operating drone craft, rather than continuing to allow the CIA to run its own programme separate to the military. IMHO it should all be until one military command, and subject to the Joint Chief of Staff and the President as directly as possible. Needs more sunlight.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Also need to avoid situations where Pentagon supported Kurds end up fighting CIA supported “moderate” jihadists in Northern Syria.

  4. One Two 4

    Explaining the genesis of The CIA would provide the required context

    It’s nothing to do with the ‘colour’ of the POTUS. GHWB aside!

    • Ad 4.1

      Crikey. You have to go back to 1946 and President Truman.
      He established the National Intelligence Authority. This was the immediate predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Lawrence Houston, head counsel of the SSU, CIG, and, later CIA, was principal draftsman of the National Security Act of 1947, which dissolved the NIA and the CIG, and established both the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1949 Houston helped to draft the Central Intelligence Agency Act (Public law 81-110), which authorized the agency to use confidential fiscal and administrative procedures, and exempted it from most limitations on the use of Federal funds.

      You can have a trawl through Wikipedia if you like.

      But my personal fictional account of its operations is James Ellroy’s The Cold 6000.
      It’s huge fun with Hoover.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Biggest mistake ever was allowing the CIA to have an ops function.

        • McFlock 4.1.1.1

          lol

          Yeah, all intelligence agencies should be restricted to open-source data like everyone else is.

          No need for any intelligence organisation to actually run an intelligence operation. /sarc

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            Sorry my bad for not being clear, I meant a paramilitary operations function, as opposed to legitimate intelligence gathering in the field.

            • McFlock 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Ok, so according to you they should be able to place spies, but not protect those spies?

              • Colonial Viper

                No, not what I mean. CIA clandestine services group are capable of black ops taking down small governments and waging wars against small armies. Their purpose goes far beyond the protection of agents or assets.

                • McFlock

                  Well, you’ve already okayed the deployment of undercover armed personnel into other nations in order to protect your spying activities on their soil. Why shouldn’t they overheat the odd pump-station or stab someone with an umbrella while they’re there, if it serves their own national interest? They’re already well into illegal activity in any nation.

  5. Nick 5

    Whatever Trump says about anything is subject to complete reversal or denial that he ever said it in the first place….much like other politicians sadly….I better add shonkeys favourites….I dont remember and I dont have the information.

    That mexican wall will not even be built…..

  6. Conal 6

    From the front page teaser: “Are we going to see the unprecedented destruction of rights of privacy?”

    Well, maybe, but not just yet. The situation has improved recently (because Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance have led to courts actually enforcing the law, and because of the expiry of PATRIOT Act provisions), so things will have to worsen quite a bit before the loss of privacy rights become as bad as they were, or worse, “unprecedented”.

    It’s interesting to note how easily “intelligence” agencies (I prefer the term “secret police”) can flout government policy, or national or international law, and get away with it for years, and when caught, get let off with a stern warning. How many people went to jail because they illegally spied on hundreds of millions of people, or worse, because they “tortured some folks” (as Obama put it)? There were clear and serious breaches of the law, and yet Obama was inclined to let it slide because he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, take on the “intelligence community”. The US has this myth that it’s a “state of laws, not of men”, but it’s just that – a myth.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government caves to multi-national tax avoiders in the shadows
    News that the Government has secretly caved in to the demands of multi-national tax avoiders come as no surprise, but will disappoint Kiwi taxpayers, says Labour’s spokesman for Revenue Michael Wood.   “It has been revealed that a United States ...
    41 mins ago
  • Cheaper to stay at The Langham than emergency housing motels
    Labour’s comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis and ensure there’s enough state housing, means we won’t be paying through the nose for emergency accommodation like the current Government has to, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “National has ...
    2 hours ago
  • Government must come clean on water
      News that the National Government is secretly working behind closed doors on its own water charging schemes shows their utter hypocrisy on this issue, says Labour’s water spokesperson David Parker.  “They have been carping on about Labour’s plan for ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government pays twice the price for emergency housing motels – with two more on the way
    Under Labour’s plan to build at least 1000 state houses each year, New Zealand wouldn’t be paying more than double the valuations for motels to house Kiwis needing emergency housing, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Under questioning today, ...
    1 day ago
  • HAM shows country needs Labour on housing
    The latest Housing Affordability Measure report shows affordability dramatically worsening for Auckland first home buyers, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 day ago
  • Canterbury kids get more support for mental health
    Children in Canterbury and Kaikoura will get dedicated mental health support to help them overcome the trauma of the earthquakes, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We’ll fund an extra eighty mental health professionals for the next three ...
    1 day ago
  • Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments
    It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party. I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour stands with Pike families
    A Labour Government will stand with the families of Pike River and reaffirm its commitment to safe workplaces by ensuring there will be a Minister responsible for Pike River, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “The Pike River disaster ...
    2 days ago
  • Yes to Sallies – Labour will build more state houses
    The Salvation Army’s latest report ‘Taking Stock’ shows why New Zealand needs a Labour-led Government committed to a massive house building programme, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “When the Sallies say the country needs 2000 extra state houses a ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders deserve better than scaremongering over water
    New Zealanders need to hear from National about how they will fund the clean-up of our rivers and lakes for future generations. Instead, National has broadened its scare-mongering, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    3 days ago
  • School Leavers’ Toolkit to equip young people for adult life
    Labour will give school leavers the practical skills and knowledge they need for adult life with a new School Leavers’ Toolkit, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Our teachers and schools do a great job of teaching our children ...
    3 days ago
  • Pay equity to be a priority for Labour
      Labour will make sure that the country’s mental health workers are a priority when it comes to pay equity negotiations, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “It is very important for me to right the wrong created ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s positive education plan
    Today’s announcement on learning support is more tinkering and proof that only a Labour Government will deliver the resources that schools and parents are crying out for, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “We have a positive vision for a ...
    6 days ago
  • Pike footage raises questions over government’s actions
    The Government’s seeming determination to turn a blind eye to new questions about what happened at Pike River Mine is troubling, says Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor. ...
    6 days ago
  • Solution to rent rises lies in building houses and stopping speculators
    The spread of rental increases from the big cities to the surrounding regions shows why we need to get on top of the housing shortage build homes our families can afford, and lock out the speculators, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers don’t cost $18 a cabbage
    National is falling into a bad pattern of promising the world and not saying how they will fund it, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for honest answer on transport funding
    National needs to explain how they will fund the $6 billion funding gap in their 10-year Auckland transport plan, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for true numbers on overseas speculators
    It’s time for the Government to give accurate figures on the number of houses being bought by overseas speculators, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Raymond Huo. ...
    1 week ago
  • Fair and sustainable trade: A Green Party vision for New Zealand’s trading relationships
    Trade is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It provides us with the things we want and need, and enables us to pay for those with exports that generate business opportunities and jobs. However, it should be recognised that ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers for future generations
    Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand really can do better on health
    Labour’s commitment to affordable access to high quality healthcare will provide a better service for New Zealanders than the current Health Minister, who will not apologise for statements that he made that wrongly criticised hard-working staff in the Southern DHB’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan the answer to motorway chaos
    Labour’s plan to build a light rail network and improve heavy rail and bus services across Auckland is the only answer to the kind of motorway congestion Aucklanders endured this morning, says Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to build rail to Auckland Airport
    A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport – that’s why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Let’s get Auckland moving ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is pay equity just too hard for this Govt?
    You are hard pressed these days to find someone that openly admits their misogyny, that men should still be paid more than women. Politicians proclaim that they want to see women paid more, but do their actions back it up? ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s commitment to our Rainbow nation
    The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to New Zealand’s rainbow community with its 2017 Rainbow policy, featuring the goal to end HIV in New Zealand by 2025. Grant Robertson says Labour continues a long and proud tradition of advocating ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s vision for Auckland more than reheated roads
    Labour is more ambitious for Auckland than the reheated set of transport projects proposed by National, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Waiting urology patients are the tip of the iceberg
    The 10 patients waiting for urology surgery at Dunedin Hospital are just the tip of the iceberg, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.  "Hundreds of patients are waiting for follow-up appointments, but they are not deemed serious enough to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Landowners Misled by Maori Party
    Māori landowners are being misled by Government hui being held throughout the country promoting the troubled Māori Land Service (MLS), which underpins the Crown’s unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Johnny-come-lately approach to multinational tax won’t wash
    It’s a case of baby steps for a Government that still allows multinational companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “After nine years in government, five years after the issue of multinational ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Auckland congestion up there with the world’s worst
    Traffic congestion is costing Auckland up to $2 billion in lost productivity according to the latest report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood.  “This is a disaster and underlines the need for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Experience in Youth Parliament 2016
    Being a Member of Youth Parliament was an unexpected, but fabulous opportunity for me. It provided me a way to connect with other young people who have some things in common, and to learn what it is like to be ...
    GreensBy NZ Green Party
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour backs renters’ call for warm, healthy homes
    80 per cent of renters wish their home was warmer and drier, and that’s what Labour will deliver, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We can – and must – do better for Kiwi jobs
    Labour has the plan to get more young New Zealanders into jobs and tackle concerns raised in the latest statistics which show an extra 3000 young Kiwis are neither earning or learning compared to the same time last year, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement from Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
    I want to start by giving my thanks to Andrew. His announcement today and the situation we have found ourselves in is not what anyone expected or wanted In my time working with Andrew I know one thing to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better homes for Maori under Labour
    Labour’s vision is that Māori enjoy an equal playing field and have the same home ownership opportunities as non-Māori, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Today Labour is proud to announce a detailed Māori housing policy from South Auckland’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build replacement for Gorge Road
    Labour will build a new road to replace the Manawatu Gorge Road as quickly as possible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government suppresses better transport options for Auckland
    A newly-revealed un-redacted report into options for Auckland freight movement shows the Government has been actively trying to suppress more efficient and cost-effective options to construct a third rail line, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While Auckland’s congestion gets ...
    3 weeks ago
  • How to vote and keep your info private
    Going to vote or enrolling to vote can be scary. Having your details out there can open a can of worms. I wish we lived in a country where everyone was safe and secure enough to be openly enrolled, but ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Coleman’s lost control of his Ministry
    Basic blunders and chronic underfunding revealed in Treasury documents obtained by Labour clearly show Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has lost control of his ministry, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “Every New Zealander deserves affordable access to quality healthcare but ...
    3 weeks ago

%d bloggers like this: