Secure Freedom Radio with Rep. Mike Pompeo

 

FRANK GAFFNEY:

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. It is with the greatest of pleasure that we have a chance to visit from time to time with a man of uncommon intelligence, in fact, responsibilities for intelligence as well in the United States House of Representatives where he sits on the House intelligence committee. He is Congressman Mike Pompeo, first in his class graduate of West Point, with a distinguished record in the United States Army. Graduate of the Harvard Law School. A man of many parts, including responsibilities in the House with the energy and commerce committee as well as the House select committee on Benghazi, which recently wrapped up its work. A man I’m very anxious to get the thoughts of in connection, particularly, with last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Congressman, welcome back. Let’s start with that if we might.

MIKE POMPEO:

Well, Frank, good to be with you again. So I watched it and was listening entirely to both candidates and literally heard not a single idea from Secretary Clinton that is any different from those of president Obama. I mean, it’s truly four more years or worse of the policies that have put Americans so at risk, whether it’s the growth of al-Qaeda and ISIS, the threats from the Russians and the Chinese, Secretary Clinton – they’re basically her policies and she evidenced no learning has taken place with respect to how to keep Americans safe.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Of course, as you know, one of the issues that did feature prominently in the debate where a stark difference was clear between Donald Trump’s ideas for change and Hillary Clinton’s more of the same was the Iran deal. There are few members of congress who have spent more time and done so with, I think, more consequence than you on this whole question of what have we gotten ourselves into here and what do we know is coming of it? Would you speak specifically to the proposition that the secretary – former secretary-of-state laid out that we’ve put a lid on the nuclear weapons program of Iran and now we can just worry about the other things?

MIKE POMPEO:

Yeah, it was a remarkable statement to say that they’d – that the administration’s deal with the Ayatollah had put a lid on Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear weapon. Instead, they’ve provided explosive force to it. They will not only be able to develop a nuclear weapon, but an arsenal of nuclear weapons. The research on centrifuges continues, we’ve seen their ballistic missile program, an essential component of the capacity to deliver warheads across long distances. All the central core technologies that are needed to develop a nuclear – deliverable nuclear weapon continue to grow in Iran in spite of the deal. In fact, in some sense, because of the deal. And so it was confounding that the moderator didn’t confront that statement which is just false on its face. And I wish that Mr. Trump had taken more time to lay out the case for why this deal with Iran is so dangerous, not only with respect to terrorism spreading around the world, but the almost certainty now that Iran will get a nuclear weapon in a handful of years as a result of that deal.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Just walk us through how this is working in those other areas which we were supposed to see some kind of amelioration of behaviour or at least a better ability to stop, on our part, you mentioned terrorism as an example, there’s also the problem of a variety of seemingly escalating threats to American vessels and aircraft in the Persian Gulf. We’ve got hostage taking. I know the House has acted recently on trying to prevent more ransom from being paid for hostages, but there seems to be a growing supply of them. And regional subversion. Would you give us a sense of, you know, what Iran is doing in this areas?

MIKE POMPEO:

Yeah, Frank, the list is pretty long. So we’re not a year and change from the deal having been struck and implemented. And the promise was that along with prevention of a nuclear weapon, which was a fraud, as you say, we were going to get the better behaviour from the Iranians and what we’ve seen is precisely the opposite. They now have exhibited not only increased terror around the world, but are fuelling the terror of Bashar Assad in Syria and have control in Damascus. They continue to have Hezbollah active in Beirut and in substantial control there. And as we’ve seen in Iraq, in Baghdad, the Iranians now have a great deal of control in Baghdad and Sana’a. That makes five capitals in the Middle East, Frank, that the Iranians have expanded their power and influence since the implementation of this deal. Precisely the opposite of what the president and his administration promised.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Yeah. One of the places where, of course, this regional destabilisation is moving forward apace is in Syria. And I wonder what you made, Congressman Mike Pompeo, as a member of the House intelligence committee overseeing our intelligence services and capabilities, of the rather public spat, now, I guess you’d call it, maybe even an internecine fight between the State Department and the Pentagon over this deal that John Kerry struck to share US intelligence with the Russians in connection specifically with Syria. The Pentagon didn’t much care for it, what are your thoughts?

MIKE POMPEO:

I’ve actually had a chance – and I can’t talk much about the substance, but I had a chance to ask our intelligence community about the commitment that Secretary Kerry made. The commitment was that if the cessation of hostilities held that the United States would share essentially targeting information with the Russians. And I asked if they were prepared to do it, how they were going to do it. And suffice it to say, the response from – the public response from Secretary Carter is pretty consistent, I think Secretary Kerry was on his own, I think he was freelancing out there in a dangerous way. For the United States to share intelligence in a way that they hope we can keep sources and methods secure is foolish. To give them information about targeting can only be used in a way that harms American interests. It was a dumb idea and we can now see that this was a sufficiently dumb idea that Secretary Carter of the Defence Department publicly pushed back against that. You don’t see that often in this administration. They usually all sing the tune. And in this case, this was such an awful idea, we’ve seen resistance publicly. I’m happy that that has happened. I hope that the silliness of Secretary Kerry on this issue will never come to fruition. It would be bad for Kansans and bad for America.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

This is the guy who brought us the Iran deal, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that his negotiating skills leave a lot to be desired.

MIKE POMPEO:

Wendy Sherman also brought us the deal with North Korea, shall we not forget.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Hey, one other issue that’s broadly in your space and I hope on your plate, Congressman, seventy-seven important figures in the national security and cyberspace areas, I’m pleased to say I was one of them, but most of them were considerably more eminent than I, wrote to the Secretary of Defence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff urging them to intervene with the president on another matter where I think the president and his team have gotten this terribly wrong, and that is the idea of surrendering the last vestiges of the US government’s control over the internet, that assures its freedom and staves off the efforts of others to snuff it. Would you be supportive of an effort in the continuing resolution to prevent that transfer to this multilateral organisation, ICANN?

MIKE POMPEO:

I would and have been. The topic, actually, it’s a little arcane, so I think sometimes it’s hard for folks to get their head around, but it’s incredibly important. The internet is operated in a way that’s been protected by America’s constitution and allowed all comers to participate in ways that have been incredibly important to America and the world. We’re about to hand that off to folks who will certainly not treat the internet the same way. The energy and commerce committee I sit on, we voted on legislation to prevent this. My recollection is it went across the House floor previously as well and we voted that way. But I’m hopeful that in the context of the CR, we can stop it. What I’ve seen happen so far in the Senate does not look promising. But I hope cooler heads will prevail and we can convince the administration not to hand off this incredibly globally important asset to folks who won’t treat it in the way that it needs to be treated.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Amen. Lastly, very quickly, Edward Snowden is featured prominently in a new Oliver Stone film. I don’t know if you’ve seen it or have any interest in seeing it, but what are your thoughts about the idea that this guy actually is a hero rather than a traitor?

MIKE POMPEO:

Edward Snowden deserves to return to the United States and I am confident that a jury of his peers would sentence him to at least life, perhaps more, for the risk that he put American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – we talked a lot, for months and months, about the so-called metadata program, but frankly, what Mr. Snowden stole was a little bit about the meta program and an enormous amount about American national security. He was a traitor. He stole important national security information that is going to cost billions of dollars for our American military to figure out how to repair and mitigate the damage that was caused. He should go away.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Amen. Thank you very much, Congressman Mike Pompeo. We appreciate your time as well as your tremendous service to our country. Come back to us soon. Michael Cutler joins us next on immigration, right after this.