Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., grilled CIA director Mike Pompeo on whether climate change was a leading national security threat during his Senate confirmation hearings Thursday.
"CIA Director Brennan, who has spent a 25-year career at the CIA as an analyst, a senior manager and station chief in the field, has that when 'CIA analysts look for deeper causes of rising instability in the world, one of the causes those CIA analysts see is the impact of climate change,'" Harris began. "Do you have any reason to doubt the assessment of those CIA analysts?"
Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas, replied that he was unfamiliar with the material Harris was referencing but that the CIA would gather information on all threats to American security, including any that stem from climatic activity, and present them to policymakers.
"In the past you have questioned the scientific consensus on climate change," Harris followed up. She began to cite NASA and various other sources saying that at least 97 percent of active climate scientists believe in global warming caused by human activity.
"Do you have any reason to doubt NASA's findings?" she asked.
Pompeo defended his positions on climate change and said, "Frankly, as director of CIA, I'd prefer [...] not to get into the details of climate debate and science… My role is going to be so different and unique from that, it is going to be to work alongside warriors keeping Americans safe."
"So I'm not clear," Harris shot back. "Do you believe that NASA's findings are debatable?"
Pompeo responded that he hasn't seen the materials she was referencing. "I can't give you any judgment about that today," he said.
Harris, who was elected in November over another Democrat without a Republican general election opponent, later said Pompeo's views on global warming called into question his ability to accept evidence and the consensus of the intelligence community.
Pompeo attempted to reassure her that he could accept intelligence conclusions regardless of his personal ideology.
Harris also questioned Pompeo about his past opposition to gay marriage and how that would affect his treatment of CIA employees if confirmed.