WASHINGTON: The State Department says 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 Feb. 14 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 US intelligence assesses that the threats to them have remained constant since they left government and could intensify. The threats have persisted even as President Joe Biden’s administration has been engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran over a US return to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
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 Pompeo while employed by the department,” the report said.
Hook, who was often the public face of the Trump administration’s imposition of crippling sanctions against Iran, was granted the special protection by Blinken for the same reason as Pompeo immediately after he left government service. That has also been repeatedly renewed in 60-day increments.