Mike Pompeo on Iran

January 12, 2017

On January 12, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a confirmation hearing for Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Donald Trump’s nominee for Central Intelligence Agency Director. He said that as a member of Congress, he opposed the nuclear deal, but acknowledged that his role would change upon confirmation. “First, you have my commitment that we, if I’m confirmed at the Agency, will continue to evaluate their compliance with the Agreement in the way that you just described the Agency has been doing to date,” he said. The following are excerpted remarks from his confirmation hearing.

Mike Pompeo

“Sophisticated adversaries like China and Russia, as well as with less sophisticated adversaries like Iran and North Korea, terrorist groups, criminal organizations, and hackers are all taking advantage of this new borderless environment.”

“With respect to Iran, we must be rigorously objective in assessing the progress made under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. While I oppose the Iran Deal, as a member of Congress, if confirmed, my role will change. I’ll lead the agency to aggressively pursue collection operations and ensure analysts will have the time, political space, and resources to make objective and sound judgments.”

“First, you have my commitment that we, if I’m confirmed at the Agency, will continue to evaluate their compliance with the Agreement in the way that you just described the Agency has been doing to date. I concur with you that that work has been good and robust. And that intelligence I think important to policymakers as they make decisions. I think my comments were referring to the post-January 6 2016 rampage of Iranian increased activity. And that’s, I know you share my concern about that as well. And so when I was speaking to the risks that Iran presents, it was certainly from those activities. Whether it's the fact that they’ve now had ---  we’ve now had missiles that we’ve had to fire back at in Yemen, the Iranian supported Houthis, the list is long. They’re still holding Americans in Iran. Those are the concerns that I was addressing that day. You have my commitment as the Director of the CIA when I’m confirmed that we will continue to provide you the intelligence to understand both what’s taking place in the nuclear arena with respect to the JCPOA and its compliance, as well as to the set of activities that are outside of that.”

“Senator, the Iranians are professionals at cheating. And so while I think that we have a very sound inspection regime, I have to tell you I worry about the fact of the thing that we do not know, we do not know. And so you have my commitment that I will continue to improve and enhance our capacity to understand that and do everything I can to diminish the risk that in fact we are missing something.”