Rep. Mike Pompeo On Upcoming Benghazi Report

FRANK GAFFNEY:

We’re back. We’re joined by Congressman Michael Pompeo. He serves with the greatest distinction the people of the fourth district of Kansas. He has an extraordinary background in the national security arena, especially having graduated first from his class at West Point, served in the United States Army during the Cold War, having succeeded in business in Kansas, and now representing, as I say, his constituents in the House of Representatives on a couple of critically important committees, including the House intelligence committee, the House select committee on Benghazi, the energy and commerce committee, not least. All of these are vital to the issues that we’re interested in talking with him about and always delighted to do so. Congressman, we’re glad to have you. Welcome back.

MIKE POMPEO:

It’s great to be with you, Frank. Good to be back.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

I want to ask you about something I talked about briefly in an earlier segment with Senator James Lankford, namely, the Ben Rhodes revelations about the Iran deal. Nobody, I think, on Capitol Hill was more aggressive and effective in criticising this deal. And you were up against what now seems to be a pretty sophisticated and determined propaganda machine. Some say that’s illegal, but tell us what you make of this, these revelations at the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

MIKE POMPEO:

Frank, sadly, in some ways, I found it unsurprising. The administration consistently has deceived congress in important ways about the content and the scope and most certainly with respect to their intent in enforcing terror sanctions and stopping their ballistic missile program. And all the things the administration said, hey, don’t look here, this is just a nuclear deal. We’re going to stop the Iranian machine. And of course, it appears – it is very obvious now that that was deceit. They didn’t intend to do that all along. The piece in the New York Times about Mr. Rhodes just confirms that this was an effort to move past the truth and the reality that Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and they had to sell a deal that the president had made a political commitment to and Americans are worse off for that having happened.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

I know you’ve tried to prevent it from getting worse still, notably by proposing legislation to prevent the purchase by the United States government of nuclear materials from Iran. Tell us why that’s important and where that stands, Congressman Pompeo.

MIKE POMPEO:

So today we all complete an NDA, our defence authorisation on the House floor will contain language I expect that prevents Iran from receiving taxpayer money to sell their heavy water. A key component of their continued effort to enrich uranium. A restriction on that is important in its own right, but it is a part of an effort to stop the Iranian regime from being able to re-enter the commercial marketplace. That is, every time a taxpayer dollar, or frankly a European dollar, US taxpayer dollar or European dollar, ends up in the hands of the Iranians, some fraction of that will be returned to kill Europeans and Americans. And so the administration made a commitment. They said, we are – we’re going to continue to hold Iran accountable for its terror action. It hasn’t slowed down. It has only accelerated. And preventing Iran from engaging in dollar transactions and in commerce throughout the world while they’re still sponsoring terror is important and I’m very hopeful that congress will not only pass this legislation with respect to heavy water re-purchases, but also prevent dollarization and Iranian return to being just another good commercial customer for European and US businesses. That would be a moral disaster.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Let me turn to another place where you’ve been leading and that is in trying to get to the bottom of the Benghazi-gate scandal. We’re told that there will be a report this summer from your select committee. I reckon you probably can’t talk much about its contents, though you’re welcome to if you choose to, but I would like to ask you about one issue that has arisen and that is some rather harsh criticisms that have come out of the committee about our friends at Judicial Watch, who I consider to be an extraordinary watchdog, extra-governmental to be sure, but some of the oversight that they’ve been able to do through their freedom of information act request has really been better than what we’ve seen out of some in congress. Give us a read on what’s going on there and what you think may come of the report effort.

MIKE POMPEO:

So we are, in effect, just a handful of weeks out from being complete. There are – a lot of work going on to make sure that we have the language right that matches the facts that we’ve uncovered. We’re now, you know, a hundred witnesses knew, and no committee every looked at, maybe just a couple short of that. But a significant new date in fact that will provide context for the American people about how it was the case that we had the first United States ambassador in thirty years killed. And so I don’t want to say more about the contents of it other than I am confident when the American people read that two things will arise. One, it’s facts-based, fact-based inquiry. It wasn’t a political inquisition. It is a – Chairman Gowdy led a group of folks desirous of trying to help understand how this happened and how we can put policies in place to reduce the risk of something like this ever happening again. And second, I think people will see that the federal government failed in its primary task, which was we sent some warriors to a faraway place to help keep us safe and we did not do everything that we could to keep them safe. And I think that will become very clear from the facts there. And with respect to Judicial Watch, I am – with respect to helping these four families get answers, I am all for everyone helping us get these facts. We – congress doesn’t have some, we can’t get before a federal judge, we have limits on our capacity. And so having others, including Judicial Watch conduct inquiries and make FOIA requests and continue to pursue these facts I think is important and additive to the important understanding the Americans deserve about the incidents on September 11th, 2012 in Benghazi.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Mike Pompeo is our guest, again, from the fourth district of Kansas. You mentioned the National Defence Authorisation Act. It is, as we speak, pending final action by the House. The president is already threatening a veto over an issue that I know is very important to you and, frankly, to all of us. Namely, a prohibition, a renewal of the prohibition on his closure of Guantanamo Bay. If you could, just give us an update on that, sir.

MIKE POMPEO:

So there will be restrictions, much as there have been in previous years, bipartisan restrictions, frankly, it’s truly, this has been a bit of a fetish in the Obama administration to close this important national asset where we’ve gained enormous intelligence and, frankly, we need to keep open so that we can continue to collect intelligence against the jihadist terror threat. So we’ll have language restricting the president from closing Guantanamo Bay and bringing the detainees back to the United States. Sadly, the president continues to empty the place out. Sending these detainees to countries that have no capacity to control them or keep them from the battlefield and now I guess this last month the administration had to admit that there have been Americans killed as a result of detainee releases. We’re going to do everything we can to keep it open for these last seven months of this administration. And to have this important place where America can take these enemy combatants from the field, learn about terror networks, and continue to keep Americans safe. Closing it is, poses an enormous national security mistake.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

You spoke about the jihad. And one other facet of it, as I know you are aware, Congressman Pompeo, is the Muslim Brotherhood piece of this, the civilisation jihad. Not so much non-violent as pre-violent. I was very pleased to see that you were one of the regional sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist designation act, which has been reported out now by the judiciary committee and is, I guess, awaiting floor action. You’ve had some experience with these Brotherhood types in your own constituency. Notably the sheikh Monzer Taleb who you, I think quite properly called out and discouraged the Islamic Society of Wichita from hosting. Could you just very quickly talk a little bit about that particular internal threat and why this bill is necessary?

MIKE POMPEO:

Yes, so, look, we – there’s broad agreement that there is a threat from radical Islamic terrorism. And we have to understand that it is not only those who are violent but those who are aiding, that is providing encouragement, resource, financial and otherwise, to those who are actually the trigger pullers and folks who are doing the physical harm. That far exceeds the number – the number of folks who are participating in that far exceeds the number of actual violent extremists and in order to get this threat under control, we’re going to have to solve this problem and attack this at its very core, at its very root. And stop those who are fanning the fuel in the same way that the admitted member of Hamas, Sheikh Monzer Taleb, was doing. And so it’s a big, long struggle. I was just in Africa and I saw the expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood and its impact there. We don’t have to say that all Muslims are bad. You’ve been very clear about this as well, as have I. But this problem extends beyond just those who are engaged in violent extremism and we’re going to have to have a broader approach in order to keep Americans safe.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Keep up the good work, my friend. Come back to us again very soon. Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a member of the intelligence committee, and we’ll look forward to our next conversation in the near future. Next up, Dr. Dan Goure joins us. We’ll talk a bit more about what old Vladimir Putin is up to. In addition to making the lives miserable of folks like Vladimir Bukovsky, the threat that he may represent to yours. That and more, straight after this.