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Corruption Foreign Affairs

Why Rand Paul Voted Against Mike Pompeo as CIA Director

Written by Philip Hodges

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said he’s “alarmed” by anyone wanting to use torture on suspected terrorists, especially considering that the CIA has a record of detaining the wrong people around the world.

“The CIA detained 119 people, 39 of them were tortured, and the conclusion of the senate committee’s report was that it didn’t work,” Sen. Paul told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “But there was also something that was very alarming.”

He continued: “Of the 119 people that the CIA detained around the world, 26 of them were mistakenly identified – sometimes with people who had similar names – but they detained the wrong people.”

“I think most Americans would be alarmed if 22 percent of the people we picked up and tortured were the wrong people,” he added.

In fact, it was this issue – and the issue of government surveillance – that led the Kentucky Senator to vote against Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. In an op-ed for Rare, he wrote, in part:

I voted against the new CIA Director because I worry that his desire for security will trump his defense of liberty.


The new CIA Director described a congressional report on the CIA’s past use of torture as “a narcissistic self-cleansing.” He went on to say that those senators who voted to release the torture oversight report were “quintessentially at odds with [their] duty to [their] country.”

I couldn’t disagree more.

In his interview with Jake Tapper, here’s what Paul had to say:

RAND PAUL: I think the CIA needs more oversight. Our intelligence community has very little oversight. There are only eight members of Congress that truly know what is going on in the CIA. That truly know what is going on as far as covert war around the world. 

And I really think that war –unless there is an extraordinary exception– should be fought with the approval of the Congress, and the approval of the American people. That is what our founding fathers thought. They took that power away from the president, and gave it to Congress. They specificaly precluded the president from going to war without the approval of Congress.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Philip Hodges

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