The CIA has confirmed that Mike Pompeo, that agency’s current director and current nominee for Secretary of State, was not deployed in the first Gulf War, despite widespread statements that he served in that conflict.
The CIA told Splinter News that “Director Pompeo was in the U.S. Army at the time of the Gulf War – serving until 1991. He was not deployed to that theater.”
That distinction appears to have been muddled for years in reporting and even other legislator’s statements about Pompeo. An April 12th letter from Republican members of the House of Representatives, sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of Pompeo’s nomination, approvingly cited Pompeo’s “five years serving in the United States Army, including in the Gulf War.”
Former CIA officer Ned Price found a series of news reports, including from the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the L.A. Times, that referred to Pompeo serving in the Gulf War.
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The distinction between serving in the armed forces during a war, and actually being deployed as part of a specific conflict, is a major one, not least for veterans themselves. There is no evidence as yet that Pompeo himself has actively misrepresented his record, and the origin of the mistaken reports is unclear. But Pompeo’s apparent failure to correct widespread false claims adds another wrinkle to an already contentious confirmation process.
Pompeo is currently being scrutinized by the Senate to take over the State Department after the ignominious March firing of Rex Tillerson. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is not expected to recommend Pompeo’s confirmation in a Monday vote, which would be the first time such a vote has gone negative in the century-plus that the review process has been in place.