Several CIA officials have expressed concern about Director Mike Pompeo’s close ties to President Donald Trump, telling The Washington Post that they are worried Pompeo could try to shield Trump from the Russia investigation.
Pompeo, who once called the Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election “fake news” and “part of a pattern,” has been overseeing the Counterintelligence Mission Center, a role that puts him close to the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
The center has followed the investigation closely, and it tipped off the FBI about potential collusion between Russian agents and Trump’s campaign, according to The Post.
“People have to watch him,” an unnamed CIA official told The Post. “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.”
As reported by The Post:
As CIA director, Mike Pompeo has taken a special interest in an agency unit that is closely tied to the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, requiring the Counterintelligence Mission Center to report directly to him.
Officials at the center have, in turn, kept a watchful eye on Pompeo, who has repeatedly played down Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and demonstrated a willingness to engage in political skirmishes for President Trump.
Current and former officials said that the arrangement has been a source of apprehension among the CIA’s upper ranks and that they could not recall a time in the agency’s history when a director faced a comparable conflict.
“Pompeo is in a delicate situation unlike any other director has faced, certainly in my memory,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a CIA official for 23 years who served in Russia and held high-level positions at headquarters, “because of his duty to protect and provide the truth to an independent investigation while maintaining his role with the president.”
AS noted by The Post, Pompeo has had a closer relationship with the president than other top intelligence officials do and his publicly expressed views mirror many of the White House’s official stances on issues such as North Korea, Russia’s role in Syria, and leak prevention.