Pompeo in his own words on Iran, Russia and spying on allies

Bloomberg | Gregory Viscusi and Daniel Ten Kate: Mike Pompeo, a foreign policy hawk tapped by President Donald Trump to be the next Secretary of State, may push U.S. diplomacy sharply to the right. Here is what the CIA director and former Kansas congressman has said about global hot spots from Iran to North Korea.

Iran Nuclear Deal

“My critique of the Obama administration’s JCPOA commitment was that they left the Iranians with a breakout capacity. They had a short time frame that these would — these restrictions would remain in place.” –March 11 on CBS’s “Face the Nation”

“I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” –Nov. 17, 2016, on his personal Twitter account, which was de-activated once he became head of the CIA

“Iran has always made a devil’s bargain with al Qaeda to protect them in many ways. And that protection was often contingent on a deal which said if we protect you, you won’t attack us here in Tehran.” –Sept. 11, 2017, interview with Bloomberg.

Russia and Election Meddling

“The Russians attempted to interfere in the United States election in 2016. They also did so before that. There’s a long history of Russian efforts to influence the United States and conduct influence operations against the United States. And it was Russians who actually engaged in this, not somebody from outside of the country or disconnected from Russia.” –March 11 on “Fox News Sunday”

But Pompeo then added: “There’s not been a single indication that any vote was changed, that ballots were tampered with, or that there was any outcome determined by the intelligence community. The intelligence community has simply said that’s not our role to make that determination.”

“I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their activity. I have every expectation they will continue to try to do that.” –BBC interview Jan. 30, 2018

Pompeo said during his confirmation hearing on Jan. 12, 2017, that Russia is a major threat to the U.S., and “has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS.”

North Korea

“President Trump isn’t doing this for theater,” Pompeo said of the president’s planned meeting with Kim Jong Un. “He’s going to solve a problem.” –March 11 on “Fox News Sunday”

“We are going to work hard to make sure that we get what it is the president has set out very clearly for his entire time in office, which is the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.” –March 11 on “Face the Nation”

“This administration has in its eyes wide open. And the whole time this conversation takes place, the pressure will continue to mount on North Korea.” –March 11 on “Face the Nation”


“It’s the case that Xi Jinping has created an enormous personal power. He has taken many of the levers of power that were from time to time more dispersed. But from America’s perspective, this administration has been very clear of pushing back against the Chinese threat,” Pompeo said, using a phrase that often draws protests from Chinese officials. —-March 11 on “Fox News Sunday”

“This administration is prepared and engaged in pushing back against the Chinese threats so that we can have a good relationship with China in a way that the world desperately needs.” –March 11 on “Fox News Sunday”


Pompeo has accused both Russia and Iran of threatening U.S. interests as they pursue long-term roles in Syria.

“The president asks me nearly every day what it is the intelligence community knows about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and who else, the Russians or the Iranians, who might be responsible for them.” –March 11 on “Face the Nation”

“The previous president should have acted in Syria and the previous president instead chose to invite the Russians in and that was a major turning point. Today we find ourselves in the position where we are working to develop partners and those who are willing to work alongside us to get the best outcome for America.” –July 20, 2017, on NBC News’ “Dateline”


The United States “is going to do everything we can, to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in Afghanistan, with the Taliban having zero hope that they can win this thing on the battlefield. To do that you cannot have a safe haven in Pakistan.” –Oct. 20, 2017, Associated Press


“The Cubans are there; the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there,” Pompeo said of the risks the South American nation posed to the U.S. if an economic crisis continued to destabilize the country. “This is something that has a risk of getting to a very​,​ very bad place, so America needs to take this very seriously.”​ ​–Aug. 13, 2017, Fox News

Spying on Allies

“Why would you spy on Germany? It turns out that’s where al-Qaeda is hanging out. Why would you spy on friends? Because it’s a place where you find people who are trying to do enormous harm to America.” Nov. 4, 2013, Speech to Wichita State University students, reported by McClatchy newspapers.

Paris Climate Accord

President Obama “is now headed to Paris to bow down to radical environmentalists, all the while refusing to stand up to radical Islamists. In this city that has suffered an enormous tragedy at the hands of jihadists, our President stands ready to handcuff the global economy instead of the barbarians that seek to kill Americans, our allies, and others all over the world.” –Nov. 30, 2015 press release

“Norwegian leaders responded to similar concerns (about migrants) and their country is safe and stable. Swedish leaders didn’t and their country faces economic, social, and political upheaval. There is a lesson here for American elites. Sweden’s failures have been repeated in Germany, France, Austria and elsewhere. Immigration was the key issue driving British votes to leave the European Union.” –Sept. 26, 2016 Wall Street Journal opinion piece written with fellow Republican Congressman Tom Cotton.

— With assistance by Richard Bravo, Tony Czuczka, Brendan Scott, Lin Noueihed, Vivianne Rodrigues, Gregory White, and Larry Liebert