Mike Pompeo confirmed as CIA director

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director, on Monday night.

The vote was 66-32 in favor of confirmation, with Pompeo picking up some Democratic backing. The only Republican in opposition was Sen. Rand Paul.

The vote was held open longer than normal in an effort to let senators delayed by the storm in the Northeast to reach Washington, but it was gaveled closed before Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal could arrive.

Vice President Mike Pence swore in Pompeo, a Kansas congressman, on Monday night at the White House.

“I just want to remind our colleagues that our country continues to face incredible threats, and they are not hitting the pause button,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said in a statement issued before he voted in support of Pompeo.

“phe President needs his national security Cabinet, and particularly his CIA director, at his side, a Cabinet position integral to keeping our country safe.”

Pompeo’s view on electronic surveillance and torture drew the ire of some Democrats.

But Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist from Vermont, cited Pompeo’s support for the broad collection of metadata in his vote against the CIA nominee.

“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,” Sanders said. “In many ways, it sounds to me like we are moving toward an Orwellian society.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has been the most vocal opponent of Pompeo’s nomination and had called for more time to debate the congressman’s positions.

In a deal reached among Senate leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday night that the Senate would allow six hours for debate on Pompeo’s nomination before a vote on confirmation.

Pompeo drew criticism last week when he told Congress that he would consider bringing back waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation measures under certain circumstances.