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Pompeo Says He Doesn't Know Who First Described Embassy Threat As 'Imminent'


When Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Pompeo whether the Trump administration described the threat to the four embassies as “imminent” because “it pleased the lawyers,” Pompeo said he was unsure “who used it first, but it reflects what we saw.”

“I don’t know who used it first, but it reflects what we saw,” Pompeo said. “We can dance around the maypole on the word ‘imminent’ — I can assure you of this. The intelligence picture that was painted not only in those days, but in all of the history that builds up to this doesn’t just come to your radar screen new and fresh.”

After Pompeo insisted that “there was active plotting underway by Qassem Soleimani himself and all those around him,” Baier pressed the secretary of state on whether there was concern that congressional Democrats would leak information if they were alerted about the attack ahead of time.

“Anytime information about something so sensitive gets into too many hands, you should know that not only did we limit this information in the legislative branch, we limited inside the executive branch as well,” Pompeo said. “We made sure that everyone who needed to know knew precisely what they needed different people, needed different levels of information, but we kept this information in a very tight circle.”

Pompeo’s remarks on Fox News came shortly after CNN reported that State Department security officials were not given the heads up of the imminent threats to four US embassies.

On Sunday, neither Defense Secretary Mark Esper nor National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien could confirm during their multiple cable news appearances that Trump had specific intelligence to back his claim that Soleimani threatened to target four U.S. embassies.

Watch Pompeo’s remarks below:

About The Author


Summer Concepcion is the front page editor of Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Previously, she covered the 2016 presidential election for Fusion and worked as a researcher at The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She's an LA native and former Chicago transplant. Reach her at