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CIA Director Pompeo Discusses Role Of Foreign Intelligence At Wichita Event

Deborah Shaar
KMUW/File photo

CIA Director Mike Pompeo made his first trip back to Wichita this week since taking over the spy agency in January. At the Rotary Club of Wichita’s meeting on Monday, he talked about his job and the threats facing the United States 

Pompeo told an audience of more than 300 people about the daily briefings he gives President Trump, and shared details about what goes into collecting foreign intelligence.

Pompeo said that ten months into the job, he’s proud of the espionage work being done around the world.

Pompeo said he provides information about worldwide events that happened in the last 24 hours and strategic intelligence on ongoing issues.

"I stand outside and there’s a young woman named Madeline, and she will shout, 'Pompeo, you’re in,' and to this day, I have done this now 100-plus times I would guess, and it takes my breath away," Pompeo said.

In addition to the daily briefings, Pompeo also serves on the National Security Council and works with foreign liaison partners. He said he has traveled to more than three dozen locations in the past 10 months to meet with CIA field staff and foreign partners.

Pompeo said the U.S. is facing a real threat from organizations that are not countries.

"They run intelligence services that rival nation-state intelligence services," Pompeo said. "They run cyber-programs that are every bit as good as some countries around the world. We have to make sure that America is thoughtful in how we respond to these non-state hostile intelligence actors."

Pompeo said North Korea also remains a security threat. However, he said one of the biggest issues that could affect CIA operations in the future is the budget deficit and not having resources available.

When asked about what President Trump is like in person, Pompeo said the president is very much like what you see. He described Trump as “energetic, hard-working and a patriot on extraordinary levels.” Pompeo said the president will often ask many questions during the daily briefings and helps provide insight.

"We have folks that will stare at a problem for a long time, and he will provide insights thinking about things in a way that we haven’t, and sends us back to the drawing board to do better, just in the way good leaders do in an organization," Pompeo said. "They have a perspective that they bring that is additive to the process."

When Pompeo became CIA director he moved the Counterintelligence Mission Center under his direct supervision. He said he wanted to place a greater emphasis on preventing leaks and protecting classified secrets.

Pompeo and his wife, Susan, also took in a Wichita State University basketball game and caught up with friends during their visit to Wichita.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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