Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, President-elect Donald Trump’s preferred candidate to become head of the Central Intelligence Agency, revealed in his Senate confirmation hearing his plans for mass surveillance and privacy as part of the country’s counterterrorism efforts.
Facing the Senate intelligence committee, Congressman Pompeo said it would be the CIA’s duty to closely monitor all content on public websites, including Facebook public profiles, Twitter and Instagram.
“If someone is out there on their Facebook, talking about an attack or plotting an attack against America, I think you would find the director of the CIA grossly negligent if they didn’t pursue that information,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo insisted the CIA would not illegally spy on US citizens, as he had already voted for a privacy protection law.
Although Facebook has been monitoring posts and chat conversations since 2012, the company has not commented on Pompeo’s statements.
In 2015, Pompeo sponsored and actively promoted the “Liberty Through Strength Act II” that gave the NSA “access to business records, telephone call records, and other tangible things collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) prior to November 29, 2015.”
Although the bill was rejected, it raised concerns among Democrats over Pompeo’s policy over increasing surveillance.
With regards to cybersecurity and the recent discussions about Russian hacking, Pompeo named Russia a top threat for the country, agreeing that it tried to influence the election.
“Russia has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS,” the congressman said about Russia’s international policy.