Trump's pick for new Central Intelligence Agency chief dogged by secret prisons

16 March, 2018, 01:46 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • C.I.A. director at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last month. Credit Lawrence Jackson for The New Y

President Trump on Tuesday ousted his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, extending a shake-up of his administration, 14 months into his tumultuous presidency, and potentially transforming the nation's economic and foreign policy.

"One of the most important jobs for the secretary of state is to make clear to the world the president's policies and priorities", Sen.

"The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security", the statement said.

Shortly afterward, Goldstein himself was sacked for contradicting the White House - though apparently that wasn't the only reason. A senior Trump aide told reporters that White House chief of staff John Kelly telephoned Tillerson, who was traveling in Africa, on Friday to tell him he would be replaced. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

Tillerson was not in the Oval Office last week when Trump abruptly chose to accept Kim's invitation, passed to him second-hand by a South Korean delegation, to denuclearization talks.

After the announcement, Tillerson suspended his schedule on grounds he was "unwell" and eventually cut short his trip to fly back to Washington.

But, the dismal tenure for Tillerson could be followed by an even darker period in which the USA steps up confrontation on multiple fronts around the world.

As CIA director, he said in October that USA intelligence agencies had concluded that Russian interference did not affect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election - a remark the CIA later had to walk back, reasserting that the intelligence community had made no such determination.

The 65-year-old former energy executive highlighted some of what he called "accomplishments under this administration".




But he was also seen as a bulwark against some of the president's more volatile foreign policy instincts, on Iran, North Korea, and Russian Federation.

Tillerson was completely out of step with Trump's hard-line stance on North Korea, which ultimately brought Kim Jong Un to the bargaining table.

During the farewell speech, Tillerson warned that Russia's actions have put the country on a path to isolation.

"To the men and women in uniform, I'm told for the first time in most people's memory, the department of state and department of defence have a close working relationship where we all agree that U.S. leadership starts with diplomacy", he said.

Tillerson continued, "continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone's interest". "My policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon-not just for ten years, but forever", stated Trump.

"Tillerson's ouster is a sign of continued turbulence in USA foreign policy", said Jessica Chen Weiss, a Cornell University professor. Kono had been "looking forward to working on the North Korea issue" with him.

The key to Hook's survival may be his long-standing reputation in Republican foreign policy circles, bolstered by the access he gained as Tillerson's liaison with the White House. Hours before his firing was made public, Tillerson vocally condemned Russia for allegedly poisoning an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom, even as the White House declined to assert blame. As an example, he cited the Iran nuclear deal, which he has denounced and Tillerson sought to fix. "You can make him better but 180-degree changes in opinion are unlikely", said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign strategist.

Mr Tillerson several times put himself at odds with Mr Trump by taking a harder line than the president on alleged Russian interference in the United States election. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "If he's being hired simply to more efficiently destroy the State Department, I think it would be hard to get Democratic votes".

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