Today we have the pleasure of Congressman Mike Pompeo, a West Point and Harvard graduate as well as a veteran of the U.S. Army. But not least of all, the representative of the fourth congressional district of Kansas and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi. He will use his experience and expertise from all these facets is his conversation with Secure Freedom Radio today. Click here for the audio version.
FG: Welcome to Secure Freedom Radio. This is Frank Gaffney, your host and guide for what I think of as an intelligence briefing on the war for the free world. One of the most intelligent men I know in public life these days is joining us to talk a bit about a variety of issues that are in his portfolios on Capitol Hill. He is Congressman Mike Pompeo. He represents with the greatest of distinction the people of the fourth district of Kansas. He is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Select Committee on Benghazi. He has been much in the news of late, thank God, with his colleague on the Senate side of the Hill, Senator Tom Cotton, for some work that they have done with enormous consequence with respect to the Iran deal. And it’s a delight to have him back to talk about that and more. Congressman, welcome. It’s good to have you here, sir.
MP: Frank, those are very kind words. Thank you for having me on the show today.
FG: I was listening yesterday to an interview with one of your colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee, in fact the ranking member of that committee, the Democratic member, Adam Schiff. And he proceeded to go through pretty much the party line on the Iran deal, and I’d like to just get a, well, a sanity check I guess to put it charitably, truth squading of his comments with you very quickly. One, he insisted as has the president, and of course others, that all pathways to an Iranian nuclear bomb have now been closed by this deal. Is that your reading, sir?
MP: No, Frank, and in fact, just the opposite, and I should say, I’m surprised. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Representative Schiff. He is a very bright man, a very thoughtful man. I’ve been on the Intelligence Committee now with him for a while, and he’s usually able to think his way to the right conclusion. He’s just really ended up in a really dangerous place for America. Not only is every pathway to a nuclear bomb not closed, this deal virtually guarantees that over some time the Iranians will end not only with one nuclear weapon but the capacity for an entire arsenal for weapons. Whether they cheat in the short run or comply and it takes a little longer, the Iranian nuclear program will be alive and well, and things that foment such as weaponization and research of weaponization are completely free to continue during the duration of this agreement.
FG: Which brings me to a question that, of course, is front and center for folks like yourself in the Intelligence Committee oversight business, and that is verification. Congressman Schiff made the, again, standard representation that we’ve got this covered. All sights, I think he said, are going to be subject to the most comprehensive verification in history. Again, your take on it.
MP: The agreement itself falls far short, and we can expect that even the written word won’t be followed through. These folks, the Iranians, will cheat. The ayatollahs have cheated on every agreement they’ve ever entered into. There’s no reason to expect they won’t here. With respect to verification, at declared sites the IAEA is supposed to have immediate access. I suspect they will never get that. We know about these two secret side deals that Senator Cotton and I identified. Those are verification agreements that the American people will never get a chance to see. So we have no earthly idea nor does Adam Schiff have any idea what verification procedures are going to take place at some very, very important Iranian military sites.
FG: And in fact, if I can just say that the Iranians have said there aren’t going to be any inspections of those sites, period, ever, by the IAEA let alone by us.
MP: That’s precisely right. No American has seen those agreements. No American is in possession of those agreements. And so, I don’t know how any member of Congress can in good conscience say that there’s a verification regime when the two most important verification documents are completely unseen to them and to the American people.
FG: Let me ask you about that, Congressman Mike Pompeo, because of late there have been references by Secretary of Energy Moniz and I believe by Undersecretary Wendy Sherman who is intimately involved as well in this negotiation that actually people at the Department of Energy and Wendy herself have seen these deals. That would seem to be at odds with what you were told in Vienna last week. Where do you think the truth lies on this?
MP: That’s a good question. Wendy Sherman has indicated that she has seen the documents. I don’t know if that means, Frank, that they were in a truck that drove past the window or if she actually had a chance to sit down and review them. My sense is that it is closer to the former than the latter, but I don’t know. Here’s what I do know for sure. They don’t have a copy. I’ve heard the briefings about what they think they know about what’s in them, but that requires me to trust third-hand information much like the child’s game of mailbox.
FG: The old telephone game, yeah, right.
MP: Exactly. What the American people are being asked to believe what the IAEA told Wendy Sherman to a member of Congress who then tells them. That is fourth or fifth hand about these important, core parts of the agreement. It’s simply unacceptable and presents additional risks to this deal.
FG: We’re speaking again with Congressman Mike Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence a Committee, a man who served in the uniform of this country, the United States Army, after graduating first in his class from West Point. Distinguished record both in uniform and out, and now doing incalculably important service in serving as a, well, a real overseer of this Iran deal. And let me ask you, Congressman, just from a procedural point of view, there have been those who have said, wait a minute, the Corker-Cardin legislation that established, I should say, for Congress some kind of vote on this whole can of worms had as a provision that they were going to be required, the administration, to give Congress all aspects of the deal and it seems as though the clock should not have started unless and until that has happened. And yet it seems as though we are proceeding as thought the clock has started. We are now into forty days I guess left . What is your reading on that, and whose calls should it be whether in fact the clock is running?
MP: Well, Frank, the agreement, Corker-Cardin, the president signed a handful of weeks ago, makes very clear that the United States Congress must receive within five days of the deal all of the documents. Indeed, inside in the agreement, in the definition, subparagraph H1 has the term side agreement. Everyone understood that there was some risk with this president that there might some deal between parties that the United States would turn a blind eye to. And Congress said no we want to see those, too. And the administration agreed that we would get them. Until all of the documents have been turned over the clock has not started. So I am completely convinced that the sixty-day time period for our review requirement has not begun. That’s important because until that period expiries the president can’t waive these sanctions that we haven’t had a chance to talk about yet, but present enormous risks. I am hopeful that Congress and the president will come to an accommodation. We sent a letter to the president asking him about how this review process will actually proceed.
FG: Well, we are completely with you on that, needless to say, and hope that you are successful in working with your own leadership which seems to me ought to have a say in this if not the say on when the clock starts and look forward to following closely what you’re able to get done there. Congressman, of course, as member of the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Intelligence Committee you’ve allowed me to ask you from time to time about the threat that Iran poses to this country. It’s not just Israel, not just our other interest and allies such as they are in the Middle East, but to the American people as well. Over the period that you’ve been studying this deal, is there now even greater reason to be concerned that there is an existential threat perhaps to this country from Iran should it succeed in getting either nuclear weapons for an electromagnetic pulse attack on our electric grid, for example, or their cyber capabilities, or more, especially if as you say these sanctions are lifted and they are enriched beyond imagination.
FG: Frank, that is a great point, and an important one for every American to consider. The president has sold this as a nuclear deal, and we’re dealing only with the capacity to launch an ICBM across the ocean. In fact, this president has now agreed to release sanctions all across the Iranian economy, and to put that into context, whether its an EMP weapon that attacks our grid or more conventional terror attack, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, the Shia militias in Iraq, all of the Iranian Quds Force, their special forces, will have hundreds of billions of dollars to expand their terror capacity not only in the Middle East but around the world. And you don’t have to listen for long. They don’t talk about death to Republicans or death to Democrats; they talk about death to Americans. There is no indication they have changed their mindset, the intention of the destruction of Israel and of the West, the great Satan America remains the same. And now they will have more resources to do it.
FG: This is a staggeringly important point, and I hope Democrats who will be, as you say, targeted, Congressman Mike Pompeo, will be mindful of it and voting accordingly, rising above partisanship in other words to support you in defeating this very reckless deal. Congressman, thank you very much for joining us us and for the very terrific work you are doing. I hope you will keep it up and come back to us very soon.