The U.S. State Department says it is paying $2 million every month to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against threats from Iran.
Brian Hook, former Trump administration envoy for Iran, is also under tight security at a cost of an approximate $175,000 per month, as well as former National Security Adviser John Bolton, whose security budget is undisclosed.
The State Department sent a report to Congress on Feb. 14 detailing the heavy expenses dedicated to the safety of former White House officials. The report, designated sensitive but unclassified, was obtained by The Associated Press and the Washington Examiner. It shows that between August 2021 and February 2022 that budget reached about $13.1 million.
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. However, the protection has been repeatedly extended for additional 60-day periods until now 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 former Secretary Pompeo while employed by the department,” the report said. Hook was granted the special protection by Blinken for similar reasons.
Both Pompeo and Hook led the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. They face serious threats from the regime in Tehran, as indicated by U.S. intelligence assessments. Bolton is considered to be a target for a potential assassination attempt by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Washington Examiner reported that there has been a recent highly credible plot against the former Trump adviser.
Quoting an unnamed Justice Department official, the report claims that Biden administration officials are concerned that any action against those involved in the plot has the potential to derail the nearly completed nuclear talks with Iran. Unnamed American and European diplomats recently revealed that the White House is considering removing Iran’s notorious Revolutionary Guard from the terror list.
Such threats against former Trump administration officials have persisted even during the ongoing talks in Vienna to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) from 2015. The State Department report suggests that the Iranian threats are unlikely to dissipate any time soon and that protection for former officials should be extended.
Security spending is “likely to increase based upon current threat reporting,” it said. The report was prepared and delivered to Congress because the special protection budget will run out in June.
Talks between world powers and Iran seemed to have been on a fasttrack to completion only recently, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added new concerns and complexities to the shaping agreement. Russia has a leading role in the negotiations and is now demanding guarantees that its trade with Iran would not be affected by massive western sanctions.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.