Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, responding to criticism from The Washington Post regarding his comments about Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in Saudi Arabia, gave a lesson on how a realistic American foreign policy works.
The Post slammed Pompeo for describing Khashogi as an “activist” rather than a journalist in his new book, “Never Give an Inch.” “He didn’t deserve to die, but we need to be clear about who he was — and too many in the media were not,” Pompeo wrote. On Tuesday, the publisher of the Washington Post, Fred Ryan, snapped, “It is shameful that Pompeo would spread vile falsehoods to dishonor a courageous man’s life and service — and his commitment to principles Americans hold dear — as a ploy to sell books.”
“Americans are safer because we didn’t label Saudi Arabia a pariah state,” Pompeo fired back. “I never let the media bully me. Just b/c someone is a part-time stringer for WaPo doesn’t make their life more important than our military serving in dangerous places protecting us all. I never forgot that.”
The Jerusalem Post published an article regarding Khashoggi’s political machinations in April 2019.
Speaking on the Ben Shapiro Show, Pompeo elaborated on the Khashoggi brouhaha and his view of how American foreign policy should be conducted.
“This is a classic example of how we thought in the Trump administration about what we thought about the world,”he began. “It was about making sure we kept America secure. And so Saudi folks went to Turkey, murdered Jamal Khashoggi: fact. We accepted that as fact, but it doesn’t change the fundamental requirement to protect America. And so I was in the middle of this; I went in and told the president, ‘The Washington Post is having a field day; The New York Times is going crazy; the Left is telling the story about Jamal Khashoggi as an American hero when in fact it is a lot more complicated than that.’”
“But second, and most importantly, we needed them as a security partner and we need them as an energy and economic partner as well and we certainly didn’t want to hand over the kingdom to the Chinese,” he added. “And so that series of understandings caused me to be sent by the president to travel, to meet with Mohammed Bin Salman to express our anger at what had happened, right? Nobody likes a murder of anyone. But to make clear that the United States and the kingdom were going to continue to be partners. And I took a lot of — what’s the right word, crap? — for that personally. But we made the fundamentally right decision.”
“And I think you can see what President Biden tried to do when he declared Mohammed Bin Salman a pariah wasn’t in America’s best interests,” he added.
“And so we will have to, more broadly, deal with characters all around the world who have systems that are fundamentally different than ours, but when they are working on things that are in America’s best interests,” he explained. “I talked about this in ‘Never Give an Inch.’ I worked on a project with the Russians. We took down a terror plot in St. Petersburg. So you could say, ‘Why do we care about that?’”
“The answer is there were Americans in St. Petersburg, and we, when I was director of CIA, we had intelligence, we handed it to the Russians; they took down the plot and we saved American lives,” he recalled. “It doesn’t mean we admire Vladimir Putin’s value set; it simply means that you have to be real about the things that matter to the American people.”
And the inverse, Ben, and I’ll close with this thought, I wrote about this a lot in the book: Sometimes your friends really aren’t your friends either. Take a look at what’s happening in Europe today: We told the Germans: You rely on Russian gas bad things will happen. …Didn’t know what, didn’t know how, but in the end we were spot-on about that. So we delivered hard messages to NATO, hard messages to the Germans and the French saying you have to get serious about securing your own sovereignty. They rejected that and now you can see the Ukraine civilians are paying a price for that.
.@washingtonpost says @mikepompeo's comments on Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia are "shameful."
He joined my show to discuss the controversy and the Trump administration's approach to Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/ZqILOqJeyI
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 24, 2023