In a Saturday interview with MSNBC, CIA Director Mike Pompeo described President Donald Trump as a serious consumer of U.S. intelligence, and blamed praise of Edward Snowden for a rise in leaks from his and other agencies.
Pompeo, who was named to his position by Trump to replace John Brennan, said Trump “is a serious consumer of the product the intelligence community delivers.” Pompeo said he meets face-to-face with the President nearly daily for intelligence briefings that often run long.
Pompeo also asserted that leaks from within the CIA and other agencies have accelerated, which he blamed in part on “the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money.” In 2013, Snowden leaked details of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance of Americans, a program Pompeo has suggested he would like to reinstate.
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Pompeo’s description of Trump clashes with the conventional wisdom that the President is deeply skeptical of, and even hostile towards, the intelligence community. In the weeks after his November 2016 election win, Trump frequently declined to take daily intelligence briefings, arguing that he was “a smart person.”
Trump has also dismissed intelligence findings suggesting that Russia tried to undermine the U.S. election process. As investigation continues into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump’s supporters have frequently described the CIA and other intelligence agencies as part of a “deep state” conspiring to weaken him.