Japan 'surprised' at Tillerson's dismissal as USA secretary of state


The question is whether that covert effort - believed to include sabotage of North Korea's supply chain and renewed cyber attacks on its missile and nuclear programs - will buy Trump enough time, and leverage, to make a negotiation work.

Senior White House officials said Trump wanted his new team in place before any summit with Kim Jong un, who invited the USA president to meet by May after months of escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. The new secretary of state will pay close attention to the interconnectedness of the North Korean talks and the Iran nuclear deal, but not in the way that Secretary Tillerson appeared to do.

Tillerson was notified Friday that he could be replaced, leading him to return home from an Africa trip a day early, according to American news outlets. Trump often tweeted out positions contrary to those his chief diplomat had publicly espoused.

Steve Goldstein, former under secretary of public affairs, said that Tillerson found out about his firing on Tuesday morning after reading a tweet from President Donald Trump.

The Trump approach has been one of uncertainty and unpredictability and certainly we will see a little bit of the same in Pompeo taking over State Department. Pompeo will need confirmation by the Senate. "I made the North Korea decision with consultations from many people, but I made that decision by myself", he said.

"Mike Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency director has done an outstanding job ... he's very, very solid".

Torture has since been explicitly outlawed by the government, and despite Trump's endorsement of it, there have been no reports of the USA intelligence agencies returning to the practice. The CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, will succeed Pompeo, becoming the first woman to lead the agency pending Senate confirmation for both her and Pompeo.

Although relatively new to the Trump inner circle, Pompeo has won the president's trust with tailored briefings on classified information.

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"Unfortunately, today's transition disrupts steady communications with the regime, especially since we lack a nominee for ambassador to South Korea and recently lost the top career official handling North Korea", she said in a prepared statement provided by her office. Tillerson also spoke with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Gary Cohn recently announced his resignation as director of the National Economic Council.

Trump's frayed relationship with Tillerson has been well-documented. She is a veteran CIA clandestine officer backed by many in the US intelligence community but regarded warily by some in Congress for her involvement in the agency's "black site" detention facilities. The US Congress had a hearing on that last week and there are folks in the White House working on US-China global competition issues.

Tillerson was reported to have privately called Trump a "moron" in July after the president suggested a 10-fold increase in the US nuclear arsenal.

"The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history", said Republican Senator John McCain, who himself was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

"And we commenced the steps to dramatically increase not just the scope, but the effectiveness of the sanctions" he said.

Mark Dubowitz of the hawkish Foundation Foundation for Defense of Democracies rarely agrees with Obama-era diplomats - but he does agree that Pompeo's arrival is bad news for the deal.

Pompeo is also likely to also oppose the commercial illogic of the Iran nuclear agreement, which enriches the Islamic clerics who rule the nation for their nuclear restraint and then allows them to use billions of dollars to underwrite their aggressive regional ambitions. "So we were not really thinking the same".

"They're somewhat similar but it's customary for a secretary of state to last longer", Cyr said.