Trump’s Pressure Points

Former intelligence analysts say CIA director Mike Pompeo seems willing to bend to Trump on Russia and Iran.
Vice President Mike Pence (right) swears in Mike Pompeo—flanked by Pompeo's wife, Susan—to be director of the CIA in Washington, D.C., on January 23.
Pompeo CIA

Updated | In early November, Cynthia Storer sat down and started sketching out her next lecture for an online course she’s teaching for Johns Hopkins University. The topic: the politicization of intelligence. The ex-CIA senior counterterrorism analyst, one of the famous “sisters” who tracked Osama bin Laden, has firsthand memories of the constant pressure from Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials to come up with proof that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al-Qaeda. With White House encouragement, the agency also came up with evidence that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. In that sad episode, George Tenet, then CIA director, told Bush he could make a “slam dunk” case for attacking Iraq. As it turned out, Bush’s sales pitch was successful, but the intelligence was a bust: No nuclear, chemical or biological weapons were found.

Perhaps it was only a coincidence, but the timing of Storer’s lecture was ideal, given the lengthening string of evidence that CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been bending the agency to his boss’s will

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