Mike Pompeo discusses the CIA’s ethics during an April 2019 visit to Texas A&M University
Question: How do you balance condemnations with concessions and diplomacy with a controversial government such as Saudi Arabia?
Pompeo: So I always begin with a deep understanding that no Secretary of State gets through their first day without recognizing, it’s a tough world out there. We don’t appreciate how glorious it is to be here in the United States of America on a consistent-enough basis and with enough fervor. Maybe you do here at Texas A&M but I think too many Americans don’t understand how blessed we are. These are, are many many tough places out there.
Having said that, not all tough places are the same. They each present a different set of challenges. It reminds me, you would know this, but it’s a bit of an aside. But in terms of how you think about problem sets, when I was a cadet, what’s the cadet motto at West Point? ‘You will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.’ I was the CIA director, we lied, we cheated, we stole. That’s, it was like, we had entire training courses.
It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. And so when you deal with these countries, you have to just recognize they’re not all the same. Some of these difficult, nasty places want to partner with the United States and just haven’t gotten to the right place yet, just haven’t been able to move their own institutions.