The State Department is reportedly paying more than $2 million per month on security for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a former top aide, as the two men face “serious and credible” threats from Iran.
The Associated Press, citing a State Department report from February labeled “sensitive but unclassified,” reported on Saturday that the department has spent $13.1 million between August 2021 and February 2022 on protection for Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook. The two men have reportedly been receiving 24-hour security.
Pompeo and Hook headed the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran during the Trump administration. The report obtained by the AP said threats from Iran have continued since former President Trump departed office.
Pompeo automatically qualified for 180 days of protection from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security after departing office because of his high-ranking position, according to the AP.
Current Secretary of State Antony Blinken, however, has reportedly extended that security in 60-day blocks a number of times because of “a serious and credible threat from a foreign power or agent of a foreign power arising from duties performed by former Secretary Pompeo while employed by the department,” according to the report cited by the AP.
Hook was also given the special protection after leaving office for the same reason, according to the AP, and his protection has also reportedly been extended in 60-day chunks.
Pompeo announced in August 2020 that Hook was resigning from the State Department. Pompeo served as the top U.S. diplomat until Trump departed office in January 2021.
Asked for comment on the AP’s report, a State Department spokesperson told The Hill on Sunday that it does not “discuss the specifics of protective operations.”
The spokesperson did, however, say that Congress approved new terms that allow ex-State Department officials to receive protection if they face “a serious and credible threat from a foreign power or the agent of a foreign power” related to their time in office.
“Under the protective services provision, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, determines and reports to Congressional leadership and the appropriate congressional committees if a former or retired senior State Department official would receive protection,” the spokesperson added.
The State Department and Director of National Intelligence have to decide by March 16 whether or not to extend Pompeo and Hook’s protection for another 60 days, according to the AP.
The State Department created the report because its special protection budget is set to run out of funds in June unless it receives more money, the news wire noted.
“As new requirements arise and threats evolve, we will seek the necessary resources to ensure mission success,” the spokesperson added to The Hill.
News of Pompeo and Hook’s protection comes as the global effort to revive a nuclear deal with Iran has been thrown into doubt amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Pompeo’s name has been tossed around as a potential Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election. Asked over the summer about any plans for the race, Pompeo said “I want to continue to have an impact on the things that I care about, both here and abroad.”