After his inauguration, President Trump’s nominee for CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, was confirmed by the Senate, despite the fact that Pompeo himself carried shady personal opinions on Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election last year. Many speculated that Trump picked Pompeo to help him cover up the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians. A new leak from the WaPo reveals that to unfortunately be the case, but fortunately, former President Obama saw this coming.
The WaPo reported that many Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials are concerned that Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo, is helping Trump cover up collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. “People have to watch him,” said a CIA official who spoke anonymously, “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.” The concern about Pompeo is justified, as he once said that Russian interference was “no news.”
Pompeo oversees the Counterintelligence Mission Center (CMC), which gives him close access to information that could impact Mueller’s investigation. The CMC issues reports to Pompeo, which could include leaks on election interference. Another CIA official who spoke anonymously, said that “if you were passing on something too dicey [to Pompeo] he would go to the White House with it.”
Fortunately however, former President Obama saw this coming, and put in safeguards before leaving office, to essentially set a trap for Trump, if Trump tried to pull off this exact attempt at covering up collusion with the Russians. Just before leaving office, the Obama administration issued new rules to the National Security Agency (NSA), that now allow it to freely distribute intel to the entire U.S. intelligence community.
Before Obama’s rule, the NSA would filter its information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency. This is incredibly important, because the NSA works with the CIA, to insert eavesdropping devices in high value targets (such as Presidential palaces or embassies). So before Obama’s rule, the NSA might not share intel on high value political entities, like Trump, until after it was already filtered through the CIA. With Obama’s rule, the NSA can just give the raw intel to any intelligence agency, such as the FBI and Mueller.
You may have heard those on the Right claiming that Trump is playing “4d chess”, to explain away his nonsensical behavior. What Obama did with this rule change is actual 4d chess. The foresight and intelligence required to see these types of things coming and counteract them, is truly remarkable, as President Obama was. Obama foresaw the problem of someone like Pompeo running the CIA, and planned for it just in time.
“It is always a balancing act between a director’s access to the president and the need to protect CIA’s sensitive equities,” said John Sipher, a former senior CIA official, “Pompeo clearly has a more difficult challenge in maintaining that balance than his predecessors given the obvious concerns with this president’s unique personality, obsession with charges against him, lack of knowledge and tendency to take impulsive action.”