Speaking on a variety of national security topics on Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo reiterated his views of Russia as an adversary across a wide spectrum, saying that the Russians will do whatever they can to “stick it to America,” the Associated Press reports.
Pompeo said that Russia continues to pursue a strategy solely in their interest in Syria, and that any action against the Islamic State has been minimally effective. He reiterated the belief of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia ‘meddled’ in the 2016 presidential election, and said “I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that’s something that’s useful.”
According to Pompeo, Russia will stay in Syria for as long as possible to maintain access to its Mediterranean Sea port at Tartus.
But he also said there are areas in which the United States and Russia could cooperate, specifically in the realm of counter-terrorism.
Pompeo’s reminder that the administration still considers Russia to be an adversary comes at a time of near-hysteria in the United States over anything and everything to do with Russia. The news media has been pouring over any possible Russian connection to a Trump administration official or associate for a full year. Whether responsibility for that lies with the media or with the President might be in the eye of the beholder. Regardless, at times it can be difficult to remember that the United States and Russia are not colluding allies.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 19, 2017
Despite images of Trump and Putin having a laugh at the G20 summit, there are major administration officials continuing to broadcast how the administration regards the Russian government. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said the Russians are trying to break world alliances, and that they want no positive relationship with the United States. Pompeo has said from the start of his tenure that Russia has aided and abetted hostile non-state actors like Wikileaks in intelligence actions harmful to the United States.
Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia