U.S. Senate Democrats, led by New York’s Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, argued that they are dragging their feet on confirming Rep. Mike Pompeo. They — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut and others –claim Pompeo has “controversial views on surveillance and other issues” that need to be debated on the floor. But more than one observer, such as former military intelligence officer and police commander Larry McIntire, believe the progressives fear a CIA run by Pompeo because of the shenanigans by President Barack Obama’s CIA appointees and supporters that he may uncover.
“Democrat lawmakers appear to be concerned – even fearful — that one of their fellow members of Congress will be confirmed to head the Central Intelligence Agency. But it will take an enormous ‘skeleton in his closet’ to stop U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo’s rise to the government position he has worked his entire life to achieve,” said the now retired McIntire. “I’d say that Pompeo may open a new can of worms especially when it comes to the Obama and [Secretary of State John] Kerry nuclear weapons agreement with Iran,” he noted.
The great fear among Democrats is that Pompeo may attempt to finish a serious probe as the Director on Central which he had started while he served on the House Intelligence Committee: big pay-off(s) to Iran.
But the Democrats are having a hard time finding something to put the kibosh on the confirmation because the Republican congressman possesses quite an impressive resume.
Pompeo, while still a teenager, shined as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In fact, he graduated first in his class from the academy in 1986. According to his official biography, he also graduated from Harvard’s School of Law and easily passed the bar exam.
His military record includes serving as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division. He served his last tour of duty in the first war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The 7thCavalry is considered an elite unit going back to the Indian Wars in the 1800s.
As a House Intelligence Committee member, Pompeo said only a few weeks ago that he has additional evidence that the Obama administration weaseled its way around U.S. sanctions law when it sent $1.7 billion to Iran, according to news reports.
Rep. Pompeo is on the record stating disclosures made to him by the Treasury Department in a letter that the first $400 million cash payment to Iran was wired to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then electronically-transferred to an account at the National Bank of Switzerland.
The Federal Reserve followed up by “withdraw[ing] the funds from its account as Swiss franc banknotes and the U.S. government physically transported them to Geneva” before overseeing the handover to an Iranian central bank official.
GOP lawmakers have been probing the legality of the payments for months to determine if the money was ransom for the release of American prisoners who were held hostage in the Islamic Republic, but Pompeo says, “[This] administration has not provided most of the information [being sought] by the committee members. By stonewalling our inquiries, President Obama seems to be hiding whether or not he and others broke U.S. law by sending $1.7 billion in cash to Iran,” Pompeo told the news media at the time.
“Americans can plainly see that the Obama administration laundered this money in order to circumvent U.S. law and appease the Islamic Republic of Iran,” He accused.
Congress has been looking into the legality of the payments for months to determine as well if they were ransom for the release of Americans who were held in the Islamic Republic, but Pompeo says the administration has not provided most of the information they seek.
“By withholding critical details and stonewalling congressional inquiries, President Obama seems to be hiding whether or not he and others broke U.S. law by sending $1.7 billion in cash to Iran,” Pompeo told the Free Beacon.
Other critics of the transfer, such as the American Action Forum (AAF), say that Iran has used tens of millions of the $1.7 billion it received from the U.S. to bolster its worldwide terrorism operations, including giving funds to organizations which have murdered American citizens.
In her report, AAF’s Rachel Hoff wrote: When the Obama Administration sent Iran a total of $1.7 billion in cash earlier this year, many questioned if these payments constituted a “ransom” for the release of American prisoners. The State Department, however, insists the payment was only used as “leverage” to ensure the prisoners were released. (The United States has a longstanding policy that it does not pay ransoms for American prisoners or hostages.) The nature of the cash transfers to Iran is an important question, but it is also worth considering the payment itself.
Iran recently passed a law requiring that the $1.7 billion U.S. payment be directed to the Iranian military. Previous AAF research reported that Iran reports spending 65 percent of its military budget on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian elite paramilitary force. The IRGC actively supports terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East, spending millions of dollars every year to support the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza. Iran also sends billions of dollars every year to the Assad regime in Syria.
It is unlikely that Iran accurately reports its military or paramilitary spending, but the reported budget figures are useful as a minimum baseline. Applying the official spending levels to the U.S. payment to Iran, the $1.7 billion could mean $1.1 billion for the IRGC. Paying ransoms in exchange for Americans held abroad is one bad policy—indirectly funding terrorism is another.