Veteran national security reporter Bill Gertz offers an interview with CIA Director Mike Pompeo at the Washington Free Beacon.
Bill Gertz: Tell me about your first six months at CIA.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo: The agency is frankly in a place where it's got great people out there doing the right thing, and the good news is we've got a president who's going to let them go do it. More than let them, he's going to demand that [the agency] give them the authority and capacity to take on those challenges in a way that is in the deepest traditions of what the CIA has done when it was at its best, when it was at its high points throughout its decades of service to the country.
The president—I'm with him often—turns to us for questions that are broad and complex, and is looking for answers and for our capacity to deliver them to him and to other senior leaders in government.
And so when you say, "Mr. President we've got work to do on that one," he says: "What do you need to go get it done?" And he has been willing to give us the scope and the authority to go do it and I know they'll hold us accountable too.
BG: How is the CIA going to be different under the Trump administration? We've heard the administration is decentralizing authority and giving field commanders more authority. Is a similar thing happening in intelligence?
MP: It is. Same thing. We have spent our first weeks identifying places where we needed authorities to go do our mission better, or we needed to make sure we had policy guidance, that is the law already permitted it but the previous administration had chosen not to do it. We need policy guidance to go get it right. In nearly every one of those cases it increases the risk level. It also greatly enhances the likelihood you'll achieve the outcome you're looking for.
And the president has, I think in every case it's fair to say we've come and said, "Here's the mission. Here's the authorities we have today. Here's what we think the gap is; here's how we think we mitigate risk if you provide us those authorities." And every time he's said, "Go do it."
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