The State Department is paying millions of dollars every month to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a former top aide after uncovering “serious and credible” threats from Iran.
The State Department revealed in a report to Congress dated February 14 that the U.S. government is paying more than $2 million a month to provide security to Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook, according to the Associated Press. Both men were heavily involved in former President Donald Trump’s hardline pressure campaign against the Iranian regime.
News of the persistent threat to the men comes as President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to re-enter an agreement with Iran to drop U.S. sanctions and provide leeway for it to continue its nuclear program. Biden is attempting to resuscitate the Obama-era deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or Iran nuclear deal, after Trump pulled the U.S. out in 2018.
Pompeo received 180 days of security after leaving office under federal protocols, and that security detail has been renewed in 60-day increments since by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken also signed off on a special security detail for Hook.
Blinken has continually reupped the security details of Pompeo and Hook because of “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, according to the Associated Press.
Negotiations have stalled in recent weeks as Russia, which the Biden administration has previously seen as a key partner in reviving the Iran nuclear deal, has pushed for sanctions relief related to its invasion of Ukraine. U.S. officials have rejected Russia’s demands and are reportedly considering moving forward without Moscow, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The breakdown in negotiations over Russia’s war with Ukraine was followed on Sunday with an Iranian missile strike that hit near the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq. The State Department released a statement hours later condemning the attack but avoiding claiming that the strike may have been directed at the United States. The State Department said:
The United States strongly condemns the missile strikes on Erbil, Iraq last night that emanated from Iran. The strikes were an outrageous violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. No U.S. facilities were damaged or personnel injured, and we have no indications the attack was directed at the United States. Iran must immediately cease its attacks, respect Iraqi sovereignty, and halt its interference in Iraq’s internal affairs. The United States stands with our Iraqi partners, including in the Kurdistan Region, and will help our partners in the region defend themselves.
Despite the Iranian attack, the Biden administration will continue negotiations in an attempt to revive the Iran nuclear agreements.
“If Iran has a nuclear weapon, its ability to project power into the Middle East and to deter us, our allies, and partners, is enormous,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Fox News Sunday, according to WSJ. “So President Biden believes very strongly, as does Secretary Blinken, as do I, that we need to make sure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon, and then we also need to deal with their malign behavior in the region.”