TEHRAN,Young Journalists Club(YJC) -Donald Trump won’t get alternative viewpoints by surrounding himself with ‘yes men’ and ‘yes women,’ and that is the mark of a failing presidency, former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou told RT.
Trump fired US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, making him the first to fall in Washington after the president promised a shake-up last week, saying he was seeking perfection in his administration.
The newly appointed US Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo, former director of the CIA, although Rex Tillerson will remain in office until the end of this month and will then effectively step away from politics. Gina Haspel was nominated to succeed Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
RT: What kind of secretary of state will Mike Pompeo be, in your view? Is it a positive move, given his hawkish foreign policy positions? Good choice or not?
RT: Trump has been quite vocal about his support for "enhanced interrogation" practices. With Gina Haspel running the CIA, will we see the agency resort to torture more often? There is a synergy there, you could say.
JK: There is, indeed. And the only thing that is stopping them from returning to this torture regime is one piece of paper called the McCain-Feinstein amendment. It was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that specifically banned and prohibited exactly the kinds of techniques that Gina Haspel was overseeing.
Not only now we have a ‘yes man’ in Pompeo as the new secretary of state, but he [Trump] has also nominated the CIA deputy director Gina Haspel to take over the CIA and she is already compromised because she has been involved in a lot of torture and cover-up in Thailand. - Colin Cavell, associate professor of political science at Bluefield State College
RT: To what extent is Trump creating a team of loyal supporters here – ‘Yes men,’ ‘yes women?’
JK: I think that was the point all along. I don’t think Donald Trump ever wanted anybody around him who was going to offer contrary advice. He wants to be backed up, he wants people to say “Yes, Mr President. What a great idea, Mr President. Let’s do it your way, Mr President.” And so slowly, that is what we are seeing happening.
Mike Pompeo has established a close personal relationship with Trump. He enjoys the full confidence of the Pentagon and the “intelligence community,” and is also a protege of Charles and David Koch, staunchly pro-Israeli leading Republican donors. Pompeo will reinforce the Trump administration’s support for Israel and also strengthen Trump's confrontational stance towards Iran, including his desire to modify or pull out of the nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama. - Alan W. Cafruny, Professor of International Affairs at Hamilton College, Valdai Club expert
RT: Is that what you need on a presidential team? Is that dangerous? Is he removing the moderating influences?
JK: I think it is bad news. Because, really, to be successful you need to hear all alternative viewpoints. And Donald Trump is not going to get alternative viewpoints. He doesn’t want them, he doesn’t listen to them. And I think that is the mark of a failing presidency.
RT: How long do you think he will be in the job?
JK: I said it a year ago, scandal after scandal, I don’t know how long as a country we can make it through at this pace. I can’t imagine that Donald Trump is going to be president beyond 2020.