Mike Pompeo is Trump’s darling at CIA but will he be apolitical when the spies come calling.
Yet the attributes that have endeared Mr. Pompeo to the president — his hawkish politics and eagerness to speak his mind — have been met with a more mixed reception at the C.I.A. The agency sees its role as delivering hard truths that are unvarnished by political preferences, and there are concerns in the intelligence community that Mr. Pompeo’s partisan instincts color his views of contentious issues, such as Russia’s interference in the election or Iran’s nuclear program.
“The big test is going to be when there’s a direct confrontation between the agency and the administration,” said Vince Houghton, a military and intelligence historian who is the curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington.
“If you have another Iraq weapons of mass destruction situation, if there is a direct hit on the agency from a Trump tweet or something,” he continued, “we’ll see whether he’s embraced the C.I.A. culture — and they’ve embraced him back — versus being loyal to Trump.”