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This May Be Mike Pompeo's First Challenge After Confirmation

04-26-2018
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The US Senate is expected to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo today as the nation's next secretary of state.

Now that four Democrats have joined all Republicans in saying they will vote to confirm Pompeo, the vote will move forward a day earlier than expected.

Pompeo's confirmation comes at a time when North and South Korea prepare to talk peace, and as North Korean cyber attacks are also a growing concern.

Democratic Sens. Doug Jones (AL), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV) and Joe Donnelly (IN) have said they would vote to confirm Pompeo.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted more Democratic votes and said the party had reached a new low by not supporting President Trump's nominee.

"I mean, who would argue that Mike Pompeo is not totally qualified to be secretary of state?" McConnell asked.

But argue they did. The Senate Foreign Relations committee recommended confirmation by only one vote.

Democrats like Senator Corey Booker suggested what critics called a religious litmus test for the nominee, questioning Pompeo's deeply held Christian beliefs and past comments he made opposing same-sex marriage.

After meeting with Pompeo, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led the charge against his confirmation.  

"I said, now that you're secretary of state you're in a different position. Would you walk back some of the really nasty comments that he has made about Muslim Americans or people from South Asia. He demurred. I am voting no for those reasons," Schumer explained.

Republicans argued Pompeo has a stellar record and is key to continuing talks with North Korea. Over Easter weekend, he held secret negotiations with Kim Jong Un, paving the way for the possible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

And as Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean President Moon, there's a new, disturbing revelation.  
 
Cybersecurity experts say North Korea may have been behind the cyberattack of a Turkish bank last month. 

They say Operation Ghostsecret is a global data theft campaign, much bigger than originally thought. They believe North Korean hackers have gone after targets in 17-countries, including the US, and have stolen more than just military secrets. 

The data theft involves infrastructure, healthcare and telecommunication industries.

In 2016, this reporter discussed cyber security with then Congressman Mike Pompeo.  

I asked, "I think most Americans would assume our government is protecting us from these potential cyberattacks. But you suggest we're not even there yet?"

Pompeo responded, "All our intelligence agencies, our Department of Defense, are all working to meet this threat. But it's a fast-moving, world – a place where offense is easier than defense. And keeping up with the next innovation in cyber warfare is an enormous challenge."
 

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