Trump’s Intelligence Picks Include Torture Proponent, Muslim Critic

WASHINGTON (CN) – Along with Sen. Jeff Sessions as his pick for attorney general, President-elect Donald Trump tapped two hawkish, hard-line Republicans on Friday for top intelligence positions.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, a House Republican from Kansas, will head the CIA, and ret. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as Trump’s national security advisor. Both are controversial figures.

Pompeo, a lawyer and former Army officer, served three congressional terms and is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He played a vocal role on the House Benghazi Committee and was among Hillary Clinton’s harshest critics. Pompeo has also been a strong critic of the Iran nuclear agreement.

The congressman tweeted Thursday that he looks forward to rolling back the “disastrous deal.”

Pompeo has also promised to undo the mass-surveillance reforms that ended the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone-record metadata.

In a Jan. 3 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Pompeo and former Justice Department lawyer David B. Rivkin advocated for reviving the program. “Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database,” they wrote.

Pompeo has also criticized the ban on the CIA’s torture program and President Barack Obama’s effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Michael Flynn, whom President Obama appointed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, will become a powerful voice in shaping Trump’s military and foreign policy. Flynn served as Trump’s national-security adviser during the campaign, but has demonstrated anti-Muslim sentiment on numerous occasions.

Flynn has argued that radical Islam poses an existential threat to the United States. He also has complained that “creeping Shari’a” is spreading Islamic law in non-Muslim countries. In February, Flynn tweeted out a link to an anti-Muslim video titled “Fear of Muslims Is RATIONAL.”

He is also a board member of ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the country’s largest anti-Muslim group.

Flynn’s military experience includes serving as director for intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command from 2004 to 2007 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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