Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves Pompeo

Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves Pompeo

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WASHINGTON – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday evening approved  the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo for secretary of state in an 11-9 vote.

Ten Republicans voted yes, as did one Democrat. Nine Democrats voted no.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had said he would oppose Pompeo but shortly before the vote tweeted his support for the nominee.

A floor vote is expected later this week.

Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) have said they will vote to confirm Pompeo. Their support likely guarantees Pompeo will have more than enough votes to be confirmed.

Pompeo has been criticized by civil liberties groups for supporting the detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay as well as backing what some describe as invasive National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs. Pompeo has suggested support for the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorist suspects.

At his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Pompeo pushed back against suggestions that he it is too hawkish. Pompeo told the committee he believes military force “is the last resort” and “must always be so.”

Many Democrats praised Pompeo last week when it was revealed that he had secretly met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ahead of a scheduled summit with President Donald Trump.

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