December 1, 2017, New York – In response to the White House’s plans to name Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Director of the CIA and Mike Pompeo Secretary of State, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the statement below. Sen. Cotton is expected to be tapped to replace Pompeo, current CIA director, while Pompeo is expected to be named by the White House to replace Rex. W. Tillerson.
We are aghast at the White House’s plan to name Tom Cotton Director of the CIA, much as Donald Trump’s judgment seems no longer able to shock. Cotton has denied that waterboarding is torture and dismissed the Geneva Conventions and International Law’s prohibition of it as torture; called for the administration to fill up the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and stated unabashedly during a senate hearing, before his colleagues and a national television audience, that all Guantanamo detainees could “rot in hell” for all he cared. While his views are apiece with others in Trump’s inner circle, the idea that he could actualize them through an agency that operates with such little accountability is chilling.
Trump’s picks get worse and worse. Tapping Pompeo, an intelligence agency head, could not signal more clearly that the United States is not interested in diplomacy as the world erupts, as if the forced mass exodus at the State Department, and the military buildup in US engagements around the world weren’t already sending the message. We dread how this will this play out with North Korea, Iran, and any of the other pressing world crises we face.