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Trump "has promised that he will have our backs," says CIA head
By Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Mike Pompeo, seen here in 2011, said Thursday that the CIA is 'going to become a much more vicious agency.'
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According to Mike Pompeo, the agency he leads -- which has supported coups across the globe, engaged in targeted killings, and led a detention and torture program -- has not been nasty enough.
Speaking Thursday at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies forum, the CIA director, who has signaled support for torture, said "we've now laid out a strategy for how we're going to execute our strategy with incredible vigor. We're going to become a much more vicious agency in ensuring that we are delivering this work. We are going to go to the hardest places with some of the hardest people and of our organization to crush it."
President Donald Trump, he said, "has promised that he will have our backs and that he will resource us."
Addressing the threat posed by Kim Jong-un, Pompeo said the North Korean leader's "end-state... is the continued capacity to go to sleep in a really nice bed in Pyongyang every night."
He said "we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving [their] objective" of hitting the U.S. with a nuclear capability. Pompeo also said there should be focus on "the enormous conventional weapon systems put in the hands of this man, and the other elements of their nuclear program and other delivery technologies of those nuclear weapon systems."
Asked by a Financial Times reporter what would happen if Kim Jong-un "kicked the bucket for whatever reason," Pompeo said, "you know, given the history of the CIA, I'm just not going to talk about that. Someone might think there was a coincidence if, you know, there was an accident," he said to laughter from the crowd. "It's just not fruitful. We have a clear U.S. policy. It is an effort to diplomatically and economically challenge the North Korean regime in such a way that they won't get to that end-state."
He also said section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act "was skewed by Edward Snowden," adding that he's "very hopeful that Congress will renew" the surveillance authority, which is set to sunset at the end of the year unless Congress renews it.
Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, meanwhile, has called it a "key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency's vast Internet surveillance program."
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