Mike Pompeo Under Iranian Death Threat

U.S. taxpayers have been spending $2 million a month for his protection.

AP (“US pays $2M a month to protect Pompeo, aide from Iran threat“):

The State Department says it’s paying more than $2 million per month to provide 24-hour security to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a former top aide, both of whom face “serious and credible” threats from Iran.

The department told Congress in a report that the cost of protecting Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook between August 2021 and February 2022 amounted to $13.1 million. The report, dated Feb. 14 and marked “sensitive but unclassified,” was obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday.

Pompeo and Hook led the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and the report says U.S. intelligence assesses that the threats to them have remained constant since they left government and could intensify. The threats have persisted even as President Joe Biden’s administration has been engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran over a U.S. return to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

As a former secretary of state, Pompeo was automatically given 180 days of protection by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security after leaving office. But that protection has been repeatedly extended in 60-day increments by Secretary of State Antony Blinken due to “a serious and credible threat from a foreign power or agent of a foreign power arising from duties performed by former Secretary Pompeo while employed by the department,” the report said.

The exact nature and source of the threat is unspecified in this report and the handful of other sources I’ve consulted are either re-reporting the AP story or the memo, which I have not seen. While I’m decidedly not a fan of Pompeo’s and think the Trump administration’s Iran policy was a fiasco, he’s certainly entitled to continued protection if he’s under threat because of his official duties.

My hunch—and it is only that—is that Pompeo is being targeted because of his role in green-lighting the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, not his role in killing the nuclear deal. If that’s right, I wonder whether “Iran”—by which I mean its government—even has the capacity to call off the dogs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. drj says:

    We killed one of theirs, now they want to kill one of ours.

    Can’t really start complaining now.

    Which highlights the stupidity of assassinating foreign officials. And why Ford, Carter, and Reagan all decided/confirmed that they would end this practice.

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  2. Jen says:

    That is a LOT of money. And @drj: is correct, this is precisely why assassination of foreign officials is a stupid practice (not to mention extralegal, and immoral).

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  3. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I estimate it’s 200 million times what his life is worth.

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  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    Meanwhile, the Vindemans are getting $0 to pay for the security they need to be safe from the people Mike Pompeo sent after them.

    I say we go tell Joe Manchin we’ve figured out how to fund $24 million more of social spending

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  5. BugManDan says:

    Based on a number of executive orders US sanctioned assassination attempts are illegal. Now I’m not calling for the US to do anything about it, but I also don’t think we should be protecting someone for breaking the law.

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  6. Gustopher says:

    @BugManDan: We could prosecute Pompeo. The inside of a prison cell is pretty secure.

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  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    Yeah, but watch it in the shower…

  8. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Prosecute? What for? Just put him in protective custody indefinitely.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    Prosecute? What for? Just put him in protective custody indefinitely.

    Hmmm. Yesterday we were discussing the column that said DOJ won’t prosecute partly because Trump will drag the case out forever. Maybe we could charge him and deny bail because the owner of a 757 is an obvious flight risk. See how long he wants to drag the case out if his capacious ass is in jail.

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  10. dazedandconfused says:

    He must be flying private charters, and a lot of them. Can’t think of another way to run up a couple mill a month on personal security. He’s trying to run for POTUS so he’s probably going all over the place giving speeches.