Sen. Rand Paul, (R-Ky.), voted against Rep. Mike Pompeo in his confirmation hearing as CIA Director.
In an op-ed for Rare, the junior senator describes several concerns he had regarding President Trump’s pick, along with his reasons for ultimately voting “Nay.”
“I voted against the new CIA Director because I worry that his desire for security will trump his defense of liberty,” Paul says.
“More than ever before, oversight of the secretive world of intelligence is critically important.
Programs are authorized, money is spent, and operations are carried out in the name of the American people, yet only a few members of Congress are even allowed to know what is happening in the dark corners of these U.S. intelligence programs.”
Paul continues by criticizing mass surveillance, including the bulk collection of phone records, carried out by the U.S. government while citizens are left in the dark as to what exactly goes on.
“Only eight legislators are privy to the full extent of the surveillance state,” Paul says.
Paul then goes on to explain how this relates to Pompeo, criticizing his position on torture tactics used after 9/11.
“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 the years following 9/11, we let fear get the better of our responsibility to liberty. Of the 119 people detained by the CIA, 39 were tortured. In our haste, at least 26 people were wrongfully detained, not even meeting the government’s own standard for detention.
If it was your husband or son that was “mistakenly” tortured, wouldn’t you want the world to know so that it never happened again?”
Paul notes that several prominent military leaders, including newly confirmed Secretary of Defense James Mattis, have acknowledged that torture tactics like waterboarding are “ineffective” and “sends a signal to our enemies that it is justified to torture U.S. soldiers when they are captured.”
Stating that the intelligence community of the United States needs “more oversight, not less,” Paul criticizes supporters of the Surveillance State in Congress.
“I swore an oath to defend the Constitution and the rights of the American people. Shielding the CIA from needed oversight is not consistent with that oath.
Protecting the entire Bill of Rights is one of the main reasons I ran for office, and I will remain vigilant in that cause.”