The Trump administration has failed to make clear strategic decisions. Trump’s policies on Syria, Russia, Iran and China are a hodgepodge of conflicting goals and unresolved issues. Meanwhile, the president keeps pushing the agency to come up with options.
Historically, this is where the CIA gets in trouble. Presidents who want “wins” but lack a systematic diplomatic strategy have used covert action to topple governments or wage undeclared wars. When the secret campaigns backfire and public support disappears, the agency is left holding the bag. The lesson: When policymakers don’t know what to do and turn to covert action, the agency should sometimes say no.
.. Pompeo’s penchant for covert action was clear in his Aspen comments. On North Korea, he advocated separating the country’s military capability from its erratic leader, Kim Jong Un, and said, “The North Korean people . . . would love to see him go, as well,” though he tempered this threat slightly by joking that the United States should be careful about “what’s behind door number three.”
.. Pompeo is as ambitious and ideologically passionate a CIA director as we’ve seen in decades. On the wall near his agency dining room is a portrait of Helms