Michael Richard Pompeo was born on December 30, 1963, in Orange, California, to parents Wayne and Dorothy. He grew up in Santa Ana and attended Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team.
Pompeo enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating first in his class with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1986. He followed with five years of active duty in the U.S. Army, serving as a cavalry officer in East Germany and rising to the rank of captain.
Accepted to Harvard Law School, Pompeo became editor of the Harvard Law Review and earned his J.D. in 1994.
Pompeo began his civilian career at the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington, D.C., where he mainly worked in tax litigation. He moved to his mother's home state of Kansas in 1996 and co-founded Thayer Aerospace, which expanded to more than 400 employees within a decade. Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution and service company.
Pompeo was elected to the first of three terms in Congress in November 2010, representing Kansas' 4th District. Along with joining the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he became widely known for his fiscal and social conservatism and outspoken stances on several issues:
Iran Nuclear Accord - Pompeo vehemently opposed the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers, in which sanctions would be lifted on the Middle Eastern country in exchange for new monitoring procedures and the limiting of enrichment facilities.
Mass Surveillance - In 2015, when the Senate voted to end the Patriot Act provision that granted the National Security Agency access to the phone data of millions of Americans, Pompeo was among those who insisted the country was doing away with a valuable tool to fight terrorism.
Guantanámo Bay and Security - Pompeo has opposed the closing of the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where many suspected terrorists have been held. Similarly, he has been outspoken in defending the sort of interrogation practices conducted at Guantanámo Bay and elsewhere.
On November 16, 2016, shortly after his Election Day, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Mike Pompeo to run the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination made headlines, in part because Pompeo, known for his conservative viewpoints, would be asked to fill an outwardly non-partisan role as CIA director.
During confirmation hearings, Pompeo sought to distance himself from some of Trump's controversial views. He said he agreed with the intelligence community's assessment that Russia had attempted to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, and that he did not endorse the use of waterboarding during interrogation.
Pompeo was confirmed to the post by a 66-32 vote, and sworn in as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on January 23, 2017.
As head of the CIA, Pompeo delivered daily intelligence briefings to President Trump on matters related to the nuclear threat from North Korea, cyber warfare from China and Russia and terrorist activity spreading from the Middle East. He reorganized the bureaucracy to have the counterintelligence team report directly to him, and pushed to expand espionage and covert operations.
In his role, Pompeo straddled a delicate line between supporting his temperamental boss and taking the middle ground. As President Trump engaged in an increasingly hostile back-and-forth interaction with Kim Jong-un, which included the threat to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea, Pompeo insisted that war was avoidable, while at the same time noting that the U.S. couldn't simply remain idle as the rogue nation developed its nuclear arsenal.
Secretary of State
Following months of a rumored rift between President Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, Trump announced via Twitter on March 13, 2018, that he was naming Mike Pompeo to take over the State Department.
Ahead of his April 12 Senate confirmation hearing, Pompeo reached out to lawmakers and every living former secretary of state, including Hillary Clinton, whom he'd previously criticized. Expected to face tough questioning, the nominee instead impressed with his pledges to follow the path of diplomacy with North Korea and Iran, insisting as a former Army captain that "war is always the last resort."
Although Kentucky's Rand Paul made headlines with his last-minute pledge to back Pompeo, the nominee ultimately received enough support from moderate Democrats to garner a favorable review from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On April 26, 2018, he was confirmed to his new post as top U.S. diplomat by a count of 57-42, and sworn in immediately.
During Easter weekend 2018, Pompeo visited North Korea and met with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to discuss the 2018 North Korea–United States summit between Kim and Trump.
Mike and his wife Susan, a native of Wichita, Kansas, have one son, Nick, and two dogs. The Pompeos have been involved in their community by serving on charitable boards of directors and teaching Sunday school at their church.