Senate approves Mike Pompeo as CIA head

Senate votes 66-32 in favor of Mike Pompeo, a critic of the Iran deal, as the new head of the CIA.

Ben Ariel ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

The Senate on Monday approved Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to lead the CIA, The Hill reported.

Senators voted 66-32 in favor of Pompeo, who was named President Donald Trump's nominee in November, with only 50 votes needed to clear him through the upper chamber.

As of 7:50 p.m. Eastern time, the vote was being held open for two Democratic senators who had not yet voted. But though they haven't voted, they cannot change the outcome of the nomination, noted The Hill.

14 Democrats, as well as Sen. Angus King (I-ME), voted for Pompeo. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only GOP senator to vote against him, writing in a rare op-ed that Pompeo's "desire for security will trump his defense of liberty.".

"[Pompeo said] those senators who voted to release the torture oversight report were 'quintessentially at odds with [their] duty to [their] country,'" he added. "I couldn’t disagree more."

While he served in the House of Representatives, Pompeo was at the forefront of the efforts against the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the West. This past April, he was among a group of American lawmakers who introduced legislation prohibiting the president from providing Iran direct or indirect access to the U.S. dollar or the American financial system.

In addition, Pompeo was one of three Congress members who petitioned Iran last year to let them enter the country and inspect nuclear sites – a request that was ignored by the Islamic Republic.

A day before his nomination was made public, Pompeo wrote on Twitter, “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

Pompeo is the third Trump nominee to clear the Senate, after retired Gens. James Mattis and John Kelly were approved last week to lead the Pentagon and Homeland Security Department, respectively.

Earlier on Monday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of sending the nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State to the full Senate with a recommendation of approval.