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Michael Richard Pompeo (/pɒmˈp/; born December 30, 1963) is an American politician and attorney who, since April 2018, has served as the 70th United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018.

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo official photo.jpg
70th United States Secretary of State
Assumed office
April 26, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyJohn Sullivan
Preceded byRex Tillerson
6th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
January 23, 2017 – April 26, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyGina Haspel
Preceded byJohn O. Brennan
Succeeded byGina Haspel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's 4th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 23, 2017
Preceded byTodd Tiahrt
Succeeded byRon Estes
Personal details
Michael Richard Pompeo

(1963-12-30) December 30, 1963 (age 55)
Orange, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Leslie Libert (divorced)
Susan Pompeo
EducationU.S. Military Academy (BS)
Harvard University (JD)
Net worth$345,000 (2014)[1]
Military service
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1986–1991[2]
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain

Pompeo was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017, representing Kansas's 4th congressional district. He was a Kansas representative on the Republican National Committee and member of the Italian American Congressional Delegation. Pompeo is also a member of the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party.[3]

President Donald Trump nominated Pompeo as secretary of state in March 2018, with Pompeo succeeding Rex Tillerson after his dismissal.[4] Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate on April 26, 2018, in a 57–42 vote[5][6][7] and was sworn in the same day.[8]

Education and early career

Pompeo was born in Orange, California, the son of Dorothy (née Mercer) and Wayne Pompeo.[9][10] His father is of Italian ancestry; his paternal great-grandparents, Carlo Pompeo and Adelina Tollis were born in Pacentro, Abruzzo, and emigrated to the United States in 1899 & 1900 respectively.[11] In 1982, Pompeo graduated from Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley, California, where he played forward on the basketball team.[12] In 1986, Pompeo graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in engineering management.[13][14]

From 1986 to 1991, Pompeo served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer with the West Germany-based 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the 4th Infantry Division. He served as a tank platoon leader before becoming a cavalry troop executive officer and then the squadron maintenance officer.[15] Pompeo left the U.S. Army at the rank of captain.[2][16][17][18]

In 1994, Pompeo received a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, where he served as one of 78 editors of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy,[19][20] and on the 81-member board of editors[21] of the Harvard Law Review.[2] After graduating, he worked as a lawyer for the law firm Williams & Connolly in Washington.[22]

Business career

In 1998, Pompeo moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he and three other West Point friends, Brian Bulatao, Ulrich Brechbuhl, and Michael Stradinger, acquired three aircraft-part manufacturers there (Aero Machine, Precision Profiling, B&B Machine) and in St. Louis (Advance Tool & Die), renaming the entity Thayer Aerospace after West Point superintendent Sylvanus Thayer.[23][24][25] Venture funding for the private organization included a 2% investment from Koch Industries[26][27] as well as Dallas-based Cardinal Investment, and Bain & Company (Brechbuhl worked for Bain at the time).[28][23] Brechbuhl and Stradinger left the company shortly after it was founded, but Pompeo and Bulatao continued.

In 2006, he sold his interest in Nex-Tech Aerospace (formerly known as Thayer Aerospace) to Highland Capital Management, which had clients including Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream Aerospace, Cessna Aircraft, Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems and Raytheon Aircraft.[29] Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturer that was also a partner of Koch Industries.[26]

In 2017, when Pompeo became head of the CIA, he named Bulatao the agency's chief operating officer.[24]

U.S. House of Representatives (2011–2017)

Official portrait for the 112th United States Congress



Pompeo won the 2010 Kansas Republican primary for the 4th District congressional seat with 39% of the vote,[30] defeating state senator Jean Schodorf (who received 24%), Wichita businessman Wink Hartman (who received 23%), and small business owner Jim Anderson (who received 13%). State senator Dick Kelsey also ran for the nomination, but ended his campaign before the August primary and endorsed Pompeo.[31][32] Late in the primary, Schodorf began to surge in the polls, prompting two outside groups—Common Sense Issues and Americans for Prosperity—to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the campaign's final days to attack Schodorf and support Pompeo.[33]

In the general election, Pompeo defeated Democratic nominee Raj Goyle, a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Pompeo received 59% of the vote (117,171 votes) to 36% for Goyle (71,866).[34] During Pompeo's campaign, its affiliated Twitter account shared, then deleted, a link to an article calling Rep Raj Goyle, his Cleveland, Ohio-born,[35] Indian-American opponent a "turban topper" who "could be a muslim, a hindu, a buddhist etc who knows". The tweet, recommending the piece as a "good read", led to an apology from Pompeo.[36] Pompeo received $80,000 in donations during the campaign from Koch Industries and its employees.[37]


In his 2012 reelection bid, Pompeo defeated Democratic nominee Robert Tillman by a margin of 62%–32%.[38] Koch Industries gave Pompeo's campaign $110,000.[39]

U.S. congressional delegation at Halifax International Security Forum in 2014

Pompeo won the general election, defeating Democrat Perry Schuckman with 66.7% of the vote.[40]


Pompeo beat Democrat Daniel B. Giroux in the general election with 60.6% of the vote.[41]

Committee assignments

Pompeo served on the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce and on the following three subcommittees: the United States House Energy Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, the United States House Energy Subcommittee on Energy, and the United States House Intelligence Subcommittee on the CIA. He was also on the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi.[42]

He was a member of the Congressional Constitution Caucus.[43]

CIA Director (2017–2018)

Official CIA portrait

On November 18, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Pompeo to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[44] He was confirmed by the Senate on January 23, 2017, with a vote of 66–32, and sworn in later that day.[45][46]

In February 2017, Pompeo traveled to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss policy on Syria and ISIL.[47] Pompeo honored the then–crown prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Nayef with the CIA's "George Tenet" Medal.[48] It was the first reaffirmation of Saudi Arabia–United States relations since Trump took office in January 2017.[49] In March 2017, Pompeo formally invoked state secrets privilege to prevent CIA officers, including Gina Haspel and James Cotsana, from being compelled to testify in the trial of Bruce Jessen and James Elmer Mitchell.[50]

In June 2017, Pompeo named Michael D'Andrea head of the CIA's Iran mission center.[51]

In August 2017, Pompeo took direct command of the Counterintelligence Mission Center, the department which helped to launch an investigation into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials.[52] Former CIA directors[who?] expressed concern since Pompeo is known to be an ally of Trump.[53]

In September 2017, Pompeo sought authority for the CIA to make covert drone strikes without the Pentagon's involvement, including inside Afghanistan.[54]

Pompeo meeting with Kim Jong-un

During Easter weekend 2018, Pompeo visited North Korea and met with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to discuss the 2018 North Korea–United States summit between Kim and Trump.[55]

Pompeo usually personally delivered the president's daily brief in the Oval Office.[56] At Trump's request, Pompeo met with former NSA official William E. Binney to discuss his doubts of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[57]

At the suggestion of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, Pompeo planned to hire chaplains at the CIA.[57]

On April 15, 2019, Pompeo participated in a Q&A discussion at Texas A&M University, where he admitted: "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses."[58]

Secretary of State (2018–present)

Nomination and confirmation

President Trump announced on March 13, 2018, that he would nominate Pompeo to serve as secretary of state, succeeding Rex Tillerson, who stepped down on March 31, 2018.

On April 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 11-9 in favor of sending Pompeo's nomination to the full Senate, with Senator Chris Coons voting "present" and Johnny Isakson, who was absent that day, voting "yes by proxy".[59] In the interest of saving the committee's time, Coons decided to vote "present", as the vote would have been tied if he had voted no on the nomination with Isakson absent, a situation that would have nullified his vote.[60] The Senate floor vote took place on April 26 and Pompeo was confirmed by the full Senate by a 57–42 vote, with several Democratic senators running for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016, voting to confirm Pompeo.[61][62][63]

Confirmation process
Voting body Vote date Vote results
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations April 12, 2018 11–9
Full Senate April 23, 2018 57–42


Pompeo at the expanded bilateral meeting between both the United States and North Korean delegations

Associate Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court swore Pompeo in as the secretary of state on April 26, 2018.[64]

Pompeo played a major part in the negotiations leading to the 2018 North Korea–United States Summit, and attended the summit at Singapore on June 12, 2018. Following the summit he led the US party in further negotiations between the sides leading to the return of the remains of US soldiers from Korea and has held several meetings with high ranking North Koreans including the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

In August 2018, Pompeo thanked Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman "for Saudi Arabia's support for northeast Syria's urgent stabilization needs".[65] Pompeo and Crown Prince also discussed the situation in war-torn Yemen.[66]

Pompeo condemned the military crackdown by the Myanmar Army and police on Rohingya Muslims.[67] In July 2018, Pompeo raised the issue of Xinjiang re-education camps and human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority in China.[68] Pompeo criticized Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his refusal to condemn the Chinese government’s repressions against the Uyghurs.[69]

On October 10, 2018, Pompeo said that Israel "is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward" and that the Israel–United States relations are "stronger than ever".[70] In March 2019, when questioned regarding Israel's conflicts with Iran and following a visit to the Western Wall with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo spoke to "the work that our administration's done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains...I am confident that the Lord is at work here."[71]

On November 16, 2018, a CIA assessment was leaked to the media[72] that with "high confidence" Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Under mounting pressure from lawmakers who wanted action against Saudi Arabia, Pompeo disputed the CIA's conclusion and declared there was no direct evidence linking the Crown Prince to the Khashoggi's assassination.[73]

On January 7, 2019, Pompeo began a diplomatic tour of the middle east to assure regional U.S. partners that, amid the sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, the U.S. mission to degrade and destroy the Islamic State and to counter Iranian influence in the region had not changed. The trip included stops in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and the Gulf nations.[74] During the tour the secretary upheld America's alliance with the Arab States and Israel, commended the successful fight against ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists and countered Iranian influence in the region.

Pompeo meets with Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Pompeo announced on January 23, 2019, that Juan Guaidó would be recognized by the U.S. as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela, and that American diplomats in Caracas would remain at their posts, even as Nicolás Maduro gave them 3 days to evacuate the country upon Guaidó proclaiming himself President.[75] After protests for over "homophobic, racist and misogynist remarks" by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, a ceremony hosted by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce was cancelled. It was set to award Pompeo and Bolsonaro for "fostering closer commercial and diplomatic ties between Brazil and the United States".[76]

In rejecting a claimed double standard in recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights but placing sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014, Pompeo said "What the President did with the Golan Heights is recognize the reality on the ground and the security situation necessary for the protection of the Israeli state."[77]

In May 2019, Pompeo met Russian president Vladimir Putin and warned Russia not to interfere in the 2020 United States presidential election.[78]

Pompeo and Ukraine controversy

U.S. officials said Pompeo was present on the controversial call made by President Trump on July 25, 2019, to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which the president solicited assistance in investigating the son of former Vice President and presidential candidate Joseph Biden.[79] The Wall Street Journal had reported on September 30, 2019, that Pompeo, though he had claimed to have little knowledge of Trump's call with Zelenskiy prior to the disclosure of his own presence on the call, said at the time that he had not yet read the transcript of the call.[80]

Pompeo informed the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and the House Oversight Committee that their subpoenas for documents regarding President Trump's communications with the government of Ukraine, "can be understood only as an attempt to 'intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State'."[81] “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress – including State Department employees – is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry," the three chairmen said in a statement on October 1, 2019.[82]

Potential 2020 U.S. Senate bid

Following an announcement that U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, a four-term Republican, would not seek re-election in 2020,[83] there was speculation that Pompeo would run for U.S. Senate from Kansas.[84] He still had almost one million dollars in his congressional campaign account as of June 2019, which could be used in a senate bid.[83] In March 2019, Pompeo stated that he had ruled out a 2020 Senate run. However, he implied an openness to seeking statewide office in the future.[85] In July 2019, Pompeo "appeared to re-open the door to a Kansas Senate run, telling a Kansas City radio station that he will 'always leave open the possibility that something will change'". Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has expressed a desire for Pompeo to enter the race.[86] On July 29, Pompeo indicated that a 2020 Senate run was "off the table".[87] Nevertheless, speculation continued to swirl in August 2019 regarding a potential Senate run. The speculation was driven by concern that Kris Kobach, who lost the 2018 Kansas gubernatorial race, could become the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate if Pompeo does not run. Specifically, some Republicans feared that Kobach would "again tap a conservative base, emerge from a crowded primary, alienate moderate voters and lose an otherwise safe seat that Republicans likely need to maintain their narrow Senate majority". Several other Republican candidates, including state senate president Susan Wagle, Congressman Roger Marshall, and former Trump, Pompeo, and Koch network staffer Alan Cobb,[88] in 2019 the CEO and President of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, have stated that they would step aside if Pompeo entered the race.[83]

Political positions

Pompeo and the Heritage Foundation

In a talk at The Heritage Foundation on May 21, 2018, entitled, "After the Deal: The New Iran Strategy", Pompeo said: "First as a private citizen and then as a member of Congress, and even today, the Heritage Foundation has shaped my thinking on matters of the world and public policy issues".[89]

Military and national security

Trump, Pompeo and Joseph Dunford were invited to France for Bastille Day celebrations on July 13, 2017.

Military positions: 2013–2015

In 2013, Pompeo supported the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, referring to the agency's efforts as "good and important work".[90]

In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Pompeo said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are "potentially complicit" in the attacks.[91] The Council on American–Islamic Relations called on him to revise his remarks, calling them "false and irresponsible".[92] In 2016, ACT! for America gave Pompeo a "national security eagle award" for his comments on Islam.[93] Pompeo has been a frequent guest on Frank Gaffney's radio show for the Center for Security Policy.[93] As a congressman, he cosponsored legislation to add the Muslim Brotherhood to the United States State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.[94][95]

Pompeo opposes closing Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[96] After a 2013 visit to the prison, he said, of the prisoners who were on hunger strike, "It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight."[97] He criticized the Obama administration's decision to end secret prisons and its requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.[98]

In March 2014, he denounced the inclusion of a telecast by Edward Snowden at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, and asked that it be canceled, predicting that it would encourage "lawless behavior" among attendees.[99] In February 2016, Pompeo said Snowden "should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence".[100] But he has spoken in favor of reforming the Federal Records Act, one of the laws under which Snowden was charged, saying, "I'm not sure there's a whole lot of change that needs to happen to the Espionage Act. The Federal Records Act clearly needs updating to reflect the different ways information is communicated and stored. Given the move in technology and communication methods, I think it's probably due for an update."[101]

Pompeo and Vladimir Putin met in Sochi to talk about Iran and Venezuela on May 14, 2019

On July 21, 2015, Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged the existence of secret side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on procedures for inspection and verification of Iran's nuclear activities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Obama administration officials acknowledged the existence of agreements between Iran and the IAEA governing the inspection of sensitive military sites but denied that they were "secret side deals", calling them standard practice in crafting arms-control pacts and saying the administration had provided information about them to Congress.[102]

In November 2015, Pompeo visited Israel and said that "Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people" and that "Netanyahu's efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated". He also said, "In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important", and "[w]e must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace".[103] He supported Trump's 2017 decision to move America's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.[104]

Military positions: 2016 to present

In 2016 Pompeo stated, "Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection."[105]

On March 5, 2016, at the Republican caucus in Wichita Pompeo addressed the issue of an authoritarian president who ignored the constitution and noted that military personnel take an oath to defend the constitution rather than swearing allegiance to a president.[106]

In 2017, Pompeo worked to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran that was negotiated by the Obama administration, saying, "I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism."[107] He also said that a better option than negotiating with Iran would be to use "under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces."

President Trump, joined by Pompeo and Netanyahu behind, signs the proclamation recognizing Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, March 25, 2019

In 2017, it was reported that Pompeo expressed desire for regime change in North Korea.[108] In July 2017, he said "It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today."[109]

In an April 2017 speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo called WikiLeaks "a non-state hostile intelligence service" and described the organization's founder Julian Assange as a "narcissist", as well as "a fraud — a coward hiding behind a screen".[110][111]

During his confirmation hearing, Pompeo said that Russia "has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS".[112]

In August 2018 Pompeo called Russia to “immediately release” jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov.[113]

In September 2018, Pompeo "backed continued U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen over the objections of staff members after being warned that a cutoff could jeopardize $2 billion in weapons sales to America's Gulf allies, according to a classified memo and people familiar with the decision".[114][115]

In November 2018, Pompeo blamed Iran for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, saying that "Iran causes death and destruction inside of Yemen and does nothing to prevent the starvation," while Saudi Arabia "have provided millions and millions of dollars of humanitarian relief" for Yemen.[116]

Energy and environment

Pompeo speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Speaking about climate change in 2013, Pompeo said: "There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There's some who think we're warming, there's some who think we're cooling, there's some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment."[117] He has said, "Federal policy should be about the American family, not worshipping a radical environmental agenda." In 2009 Pompeo signed the No Climate Tax pledge of Americans for Prosperity.[118] He called the Obama administration's environment and climate change plans "damaging" and "radical". In 2012 he called for the permanent elimination of wind power production tax credits, calling them an "enormous government handout".[119]

In 2015, Pompeo opposed the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the United States and supported eliminating the United States federal register of greenhouse gas emissions.[120] As a member of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce, he voted for two resolutions disapproving of the Clean Power Plan implemented by the United States Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration.

In May 2019, Pompeo acted against environmental protection at the Arctic Council. He refused to sign on to a joint statement addressing the need for protection of the Arctic region from the threat of rapidly melting ice unless all mentions of climate change were removed from the document. He stated "climate change is actually good for the Arctic, since melting ice caps are 'opening up new shipping routes' and thus making it more economically viable to expand oil drilling in the region."[121][122]


Pompeo opposed the Affordable Care Act (ACA).[123] Pompeo has been criticized for saying that he supports funding for certain programs, yet opposing them when they are a part of the ACA.[124]

Social issues

Congressman Pompeo speaking at FreedomWorks New Fair Deal rally outside the U.S. Capitol

Pompeo has stated that life begins at conception and believes that abortions should be allowed only when necessary to save the life of the mother, with no exceptions for rape.[125] In 2011, he voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would have banned federal health coverage that includes abortion. On May 31, 2011, he voted for H.R.2059 11-HR2059, which eliminated funding for the United Nations Population Fund.[126]

He opposes same-sex marriage and sponsored bills to let states prevent same-sex couples from marrying.[127][128]


Pompeo supported the United States federal government shutdown of 2013, blaming President Obama. He said that he believed the shutdown was necessary to avoid an "American financial collapse 10 years from now".[129]

He is a lifetime member of, and has been endorsed by, the National Rifle Association.[130]

Pompeo opposes requiring food suppliers to label food made with genetically modified organisms. He introduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 to block states from requiring mandatory GMO food labeling.[131]

He sponsored the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013.[132]

Personal life

Mike Pompeo (center) with wife Susan (left) and son Nicholas (right) in 2018

Pompeo married Leslie Libert in 1986.[14] The couple later divorced. He then married Susan Pompeo. They have one son, Nicholas.[133]

Pompeo is affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.[134][135] Pompeo served as a local church deacon from 2007 to 2009 and taught Sunday school.[136]

In 2014, Pompeo told a church group that Christians needed to "know that Jesus Christ as our savior is truly the only solution for our world".[137] In 2015 in a talk at a church, Pompeo said that "politics is a never-ending struggle ... until the Rapture."[138]

See also


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External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Todd Tiahrt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ron Estes
Government offices
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John O. Brennan
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
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Gina Haspel
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Rex Tillerson
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