Pompeo says ‘we don’t know when, we don’t know where’ Soleimani had planned ‘imminent attacks’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Laura Ingraham in a sit-down interview Thursday night that while the U.S. did not know where or when Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was planning to attack, it was a “real” threat to U.S. assets in the Middle East.
The U.S. killed Soleimani in a drone strike last week ordered by President Trump that has further inflamed U.S.-Iran tensions.
“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qassem Soleimani,” Pompeo told the Fox News host. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.”
Iran promised a proportional retaliation after the strike killing Soleimani, and on Tuesday it launched a missile strike on two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops. No American casualties were sustained.
While most Republicans have backed Trump’s decision to authorize the strike on Soleimani, Democrats have criticized the administration, and two Republicans — Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — complained a briefing this week explaining the intelligence behind the strike was insulting. The two conservatives senators are normally staunch supporters of Trump, though they are also leery of U.S. involvement in military action in the Middle East.
In his interview with Ingraham, Pompeo, who was one of the congressional briefers, defended the briefing.
“I thought we did a dynamite job,” Pompeo said. “We did our level best to do present them with all the facts that we could in that setting,” he said, adding, “We shared an awful lot with them yesterday.”
On Thursday, with a vote of 224-194, the House passed a war powers resolution that would direct the president to end military hostilities with Iran unless Congress specifically authorizes it or the United States faces an “imminent armed attack.”