Former CIA director Mike Pompeo has publicly admitted to the illegal actions carried out by the organisation on Washington’s behalf. His comments perfectly underline the hypocrisy of the US accusing other countries of breaking the law.
Pompeo was director of the CIA from 2017 to 2018 and is currently Donald Trump’s secretary of state.
Understanding the CIA
Pompeo made his comments during a Q&A at Texas A&M University on 15 April. A student asked him how he balances “condemnations with concessions” when dealing with a country like Saudi Arabia. He responded by defending the country, saying:
But more importantly, he said that, in his role as CIA director:
We lied, we cheated, we stealed [sic]… stole. We had entire training courses.
The comment met with applause and cheers from the crowd.
One journalist highlighted that Pompeo called this part of the “glory of the American experiment”:
Lie, Cheat, Steal.
— Iffat Hasan Rizvi (@IffatHasanRizvi) April 23, 2019
As fellow journalist Max Blumenthal pointed out, there may be a simple explanation for the positive reaction to Pompeo’s comments. Because the university in question has been linked to intelligence agencies and the military:
That was most telling. Texas A&M is a feeder school for the military and intel services.
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 22, 2019
The history of the CIA
During the Q&A, Pompeo also discussed South America. He told the audience:
For those of you who know the history in South America, democracies have been too few and free market economies have been far too scarce.
But today, he argues:
South America is turning back in the right direction.
One of the countries he singles out, Brazil, recently elected the far-right Jair Bolsonaro as president after the main left-wing candidate was controversially imprisoned. An apologist for Brazil’s 20th-century far-right dictatorship, Bolsonaro has set about emboldening the military and oppressing Brazil’s minority groups. Many commentators call him a fascist, and award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald insists that he’s “by far the most extremist leader now elected anywhere in the democratic world”.
Attacking the press
Pompeo is also known for his attacks on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He previously described WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service”. And he added:
we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.
Greenwald responded to this by saying Pompeo had “explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms”.
Free to act?
Pompeo’s admission of exactly what the CIA does is important. Because it’s something few insiders would have openly admitted before Trump. But it seems that he and those around him no longer fear public accountability. And maybe this explains his willingness to bluntly describe Washington’s criminal policies via the CIA.
Featured image via YouTube – Screenshot
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