The Senate voted 66-32 votes in favor of confirmation. Pompeo secured the position after getting support from some Democrats. Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican who voted in opposition.
In order to let some Senators delayed by the storm in the Northeast reach Washington, the vote was kept open longer than normal, but it was closed before all the Senators could arrive.
Pompeo, a Kansas congressman, is expected to be sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence tonight at the White House after the vote is final.
In a statement issued before he voted in favor of Pompeo, Texas Republican and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said that the country is facing “incredible threats” and they keep on increasing. So President needs the national security cabinet, especially the position of CIA director at his side, the position is “integral to keeping our country safe.”
Democrats criticized Pompeo’s view on electronic surveillance and torture, but Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against the CIA nominee by citing Pompeo’s support for collection of broad metadata.
“What we are talking about is the United States government having in many ways more information about us than we may even understand about our own life. In many ways, it sounds to me like we are moving toward an Orwellian society.”
Senate leaders reached a deal last week, after which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday that Senate would allow six hours debate before a vote on confirmation.
Last week during the hearing, Pompeo drew criticism from the Congress when he said that he would bring back waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques under exceptional circumstances.
In a series of written answers to questions from the members of Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Pompeo said that while the current interrogation techniques that are permitted are restricted to only those in the Army Field Manual, he was open to see if changes could be made to that policy.
However, during his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, he dismissed the idea that he would approve of torture as CIA chief.
Pompeo also addressed other areas of concern like Russia, China, and the Middle East during the hearing. He vigorously defended the findings of the Intelligence Community about Russia’s alleged hacking during the election despite claims by Trump that Intelligence Community’s determinations on Russia were overblown.
Pompeo confirmed before the Senate that he embraced the findings of the report.
“With respect to this report in particular, it’s pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have an impact on American democracy. This was an aggressive action taken by senior leadership inside of Russia.”
In the opening remarks, Pompeo called Russia and China as “sophisticated adversaries” in the cyber realm, saying that hackers are taking advantage of this borderless environment and CIA must counter and be at the forefront of this issue.
Pompeo highlighted Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, ISIS’s control over important urban areas and conflict in Syria as some global threats.