In a move which certainly signals a much-tougher stance against international terrorism and illegal immigration, President-elect Donald Trump has designated Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, Kansas Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo and retired army officer, General Michael Flynn to head key positions in the intelligence and justice apparatuses of the federal government.
On Friday, Trump formally extended invitations for Sessions to lead the Justice Department as Attorney General, Flynn for National Security adviser and Pompeo to be CIA director.
An early supporter of Trump, Sen. Sessions’ appointment was greeted alternatively with cheers from conservative Republicans and skepticism from civil rights groups. Sessions’ nomination is expected to draw tough questions from Senate Democrats, particularly incoming Minority Leader Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who mentioned the Selma native’s stance civil rights record.
Before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1997, Sessions served as Alabama’s state Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, starting in 1981. Despite concerns, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has referred to Sessions as “principled, forthright, and hardworking.”
Similarly, Trump’s selection of General Michael Flynn to head the NSA also caused criticism. Dismissed from the the Defense Intelligence Agency over his belief the Obama administration was ignoring the threat of Islamist terror and rumors of managerial incompetence, Flynn served as an adviser to the Trump campaign and is considered to favor an aggressive campaign to fight international terror.
Additionally, Rep. Mike Pompeo, known as a sharp critic of the Obama administration, was offered to head the CIA. Regarded as a skillful manager, Pompeo, a former attorney, has earned praise from Democrats for his knowledge on security issues who work along side him on the House Intelligence Committee.
A strong advocate of the NSA’s surveillance programs, Pompeo has called for the prosecution of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, should he return to the U.S.
Of the three nominees, only Sessions and Pompeo will be required to endure Senate confirmation. Flynn’s nomination as head of the NSA does not require Senate approval.
Earlier in the week, Trump named RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff and Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President.
[Reuters] [AP] [Photo courtesy The Daily Beast]