The U.S. State Department confirmed that 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 February 14th 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.
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 report was prepared as the special protection budget will run out in June and require a new injection of money if extensions are deemed to be necessary.
Current U.S. officials say the threats have been discussed in the nuclear talks in Vienna, where Iran is demanding the removal of all Trump-era sanctions. The Vienna talks had been expected to produce an agreement soon to salvage the nuclear agreement that President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2018.
But the talks have been thrown into doubt because of new demands made by Russia and a small number of unresolved U.S.-Iran issues, including the terrorism designation, according to U.S. officials.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CBC NEWS