In the frenzied game of musical chairs that is the Trump administration, CIA Director Mike Pompeo is set to become the next Secretary of State. It’s an ideal time, then, to clarify details of his biography, including a rather major one: did Pompeo, as numerous profiles have stated, fight in the Gulf War? We asked the CIA, who confirmed that he absolutely did not.
Pompeo is a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1986 to 1991. But he wasn’t deployed to the Gulf: In an email this morning, a spokesperson for the CIA told us, “Director Pompeo was in the U.S. Army at the time of the Gulf War – serving until 1991. He was not deployed to that theater.”
The question was first raised on Twitter Friday morning by Ned Price, a former CIA officer who served under President Obama, and who very publicly quit the CIA rather than work for President Trump, announcing the decision in a February 2017 op-ed in the Washington Post. Price pointed out that among other places, Pompeo’s Wikipedia page suggests that he was deployed. It currently states that Pompeo “served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the 4th Infantry Division in the Gulf War.”
It’s correct that Pompeo was in the Army at that time, but that’s not the same as being deployed. And the claim that Pompeo was deployed or fought in the Gulf War has been repeated by, among others, 51 members of Congress, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, voicing their support for his appointment as Secretary of State:
The claim has also been repeated in numerous media outlets, either due to sloppy writing or outright incorrect information. Here are a few of those places:
Given that Pompeo was not deployed, the next, and quite logical, question is where everyone got the idea that he was and why he has never felt the need to correct the record.
We have requests for comment in to the White House and several personal emails listed for Mike Pompeo and will update should we hear back.
UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.:
And here’s Marco Rubio making the same claim on the Senate floor on January 23, 2017, while supporting Pompeo’s nomination as CIA director.