QUESTION: You can see behind us we have the Navy and the Marines. Thank you so much for everything you do – the Cobra and Osprey behind us.
QUESTION: That’s right.
QUESTION: And another man who’s served our great country joins us, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Thank you so much for being with us.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s great to be with you all.
QUESTION: An Army guy surrounded by Marines.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s very nice of them to allow me here today. I’m very fond of great, great Americans serving our country.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. By the way, Fleet Week is brought to you here on Fox & Friends this week by USAA, our friends.
QUESTION: Yes, that’s right.
QUESTION: So Mr. Secretary, we understand it’s going to be an intense day today. Word is out that the Pentagon is asking for 5,000 troops to go into the region. It’s revolving around the threat that you know about coming from Iran. What could you tell us here today?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So the threat is real. It’s been credible. Without getting into specifics, you can be sure that President Trump will ensure that we have all the resources necessary to respond in the event that the Islamic Republic of Iran should decide to attack Americans or American interests or some of our great soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, who are serving in that region, or the diplomats serving in Iraq or elsewhere. The exact force posture, the President is looking at every day. We’re evaluating the risks, making sure that we have it right.
This is an important mission. We have 40 years of terror coming out of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and President Trump is determined to change the course of that regime.
QUESTION: There are stories that in the country of Iran the sanctions have taken such a toll that people are desperate. I mean, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of unrest in the country. So ultimately, the sanctions are working. The question is: What do they do next?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, the sanctions have certainly had their intended effect. They have put constraints on the leadership in Iran’s ability to foment terror, right. There are Hizballah soldiers who are no longer being paid or are being paid a fraction of what they were being paid before. Their ability to expand their terror network with Iran has been reduced.
The previous administration took a different path. They underwrote that government, giving them hundreds of billions of dollars and the ability to put the terror team in place that we’re seeing today, the very terror threat that we are facing.
President Trump has taken a very different course of action. We’re determined to stop not only their nuclear program and from them ever getting a nuclear weapon, but to prevent them from building out their missile program and conducting terror campaigns.
QUESTION: So the sanctions are working, and they’re retaliating as a result?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I think that’s true. It’s a little more complicated than that in the sense of you have to remember the history. They killed 600 American soldiers long before our pressure —
QUESTION: Just the ones that are unclassified that we know of.
SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s right. Just before the pressure campaign. They blew up an embassy. There is a long history of Iranian terror that long predates our sanctions efforts. So this isn’t just about our sanctions. This is about the nature of this theocratic regime, these kleptocrats in Tehran, and we are determined to push back against it.
QUESTION: And Mr. Secretary, there’s no doubt about it, Dianne Feinstein, who’s ranking member in the Intelligence Committee, having meetings with the Foreign Minister Zarif, having dinner with him, bragging to people that she has his cell phone. And what about the fact that people have said – and the President has brought up – that John Kerry is essentially giving a message to wait out this four years, wait out this president, then we’ll get somebody else in there? Have you felt that and has that affected your job?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Undoubtedly. And it’s true. I mean, I was in Munich when I saw not only Kerry but Wendy Sherman, Ernest Moniz, the whole gang that crafted that terrible deal. They were there. They met with the Iranian leadership. I can’t tell you the exact details of what they said —
QUESTION: Has that ever happened before?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I can’t tell you, but it’s unusual. And more importantly, it’s wrong. Every American should support America’s foreign policy. They had their moment. They had their day. It’s time to get off the stage. These acts border – we all know the Logan Act. We all know the risk that is taken when people act as private citizens on behalf of the United States government.
QUESTION: What about John Brennan briefing Democrats yesterday? What is John Brennan briefing Democrats on Iran for?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You’ll have to ask the Democrats. I mean, this is the man who directed the CIA at the time that this terror regime grew. I couldn’t tell you why they were looking to him for expertise on this issue.
QUESTION: All right, let’s switch gears. John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, after serving his time – he was sentenced to 20 years for his – he went from the United States to Afghanistan, enlisted with the Taliban, was involved in the death of Johnny Mike Spann. Now, after close to 20 years he’s being sprung, although a couple of years early because the —
QUESTION: Good behavior.
QUESTION: — the prison board decided, you know what, good behavior, let’s let him out.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Unexplainable and unconscionable. I love the CIA. Johnny Micheal Spann was one of ours.
QUESTION: Yeah. He’s on the wall.
SECRETARY POMPEO: He’s on the wall. He is a man of enormous integrity and courage, and we are now allowing someone who was involved in his death out of jail after what is a relatively short sentence. I think it calls for a review of our processes, all the things that went into this day, where he is being allowed out early. I think we need to review it all.
He still, as I understand it, still is threatening the United States of America.
QUESTION: Yes, yes.
SECRETARY POMPEO: And still committed to the very jihad that he engaged in that killed a great American and a great CIA officer. There is something deeply troubling and wrong about this.
QUESTION: Openly still calls for extremist violence. So how is that good behavior?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, you’d have to ask the judge who is disconnected from my understanding of good behavior in the most fundamental way. I can’t account for how you could look at someone like this fellow and his continued views on the world, and describe that as —
QUESTION: The family is so upset. The family of the CIA —
SECRETARY POMPEO: And properly so.
QUESTION: All right, Mr. Secretary. And by the way, she – Mrs. Spann – is going to be on with Shannon Bream tonight.
Mr. Secretary, you had a chance to meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin, and we also had your predecessor Rex Tillerson walking the halls, testifying over the weekend saying – yesterday actually – saying that the President of the United States was really out-prepared by Vladimir Putin when they met a couple years ago to talk about for two and a half hours. What was that meeting like, Vladimir Putin like? Were you able to get any points across – for example, what they’re doing in Venezuela – that would change their behavior?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I think we had a constructive meeting. Look, there’s places we’re just never going to see eye-to-eye. We just have different views. It’s not a democracy. Our two governments are very different.
My mission set that I was sent there by President Trump was to find places where we can have common understandings, and there are a handful. We’ve – I worked on counterterrorism with my counterparts there. I think we’ve saved both American and Russian lives. We’ve – there’s places in Syria and Afghanistan where we have a common set of interests in taking down terror threats. But I was very clear about American interests, and President Trump is as committed as anyone to protecting those American interests against the Russians.
QUESTION: Did it change any behavior in Venezuela?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ll see. Only time will tell.
QUESTION: We are sitting on the USS New York, for people who are just joining us right now, on the Hudson River. The Hudson River has been instrumental in your life, because about 40 miles north of where we’re sitting is West Point. You were a cadet, finished top of your class. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to go into the military.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I was incredibly blessed to get the opportunity to attend West Point, the United States Military Academy. I was a pretty ordinary kid from southern California. I was a pretty good student, but saw this as a place where, if you worked hard and told the truth and were faithful, you could —
QUESTION: Is that you right there?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. A little different version of me, maybe six – about six, twelve months ago, something like that.
Goodness, I haven’t seen that picture for a while.
QUESTION: What was that experience like?
SECRETARY POMPEO: The – it was an amazing experience. I was around great young leaders, a faculty that was committed to America, true patriots. It was formative for me. It taught me a great deal about what I know about leadership today, and I hope it is helpful in my role as Secretary of State too.
QUESTION: One of the things of Fleet Week is it’s a great recruiting tool. It’s great for the Navy and it’s great for the Marines. For people – young people – this is graduation season right now. If they’re thinking about their lives going forward, why should they consider a career in the military?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, if you’re a young person, you’re thinking about what to do next in your life, there are lots of options. But a time of service to the nation, a time of learning discipline, of learning leadership, of surrounding yourself with other patriots, people who care deeply about our country, I can’t imagine a better way to spend a handful of years in your life or to make it a career.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I know that I got – we got a chance to meet Steve Cannon, president of the Falcons, and he graduated with you in ’86. You lost a key member of your graduating class, Johnny Mac. And this Johnny Mac foundation – I got a chance to meet a whole bunch of your class members – you guys are like family.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Brian, you’ve been such a great friend to the Johnny Mac foundation. It was a tragic loss for our class, but it brought us together. There were about a thousand of us who graduated back in 1986. We’re good friends. A whole bunch of folks like Steve went on to great success. Some of us just managed our way through.
QUESTION: You’re barely scraping by.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Some of us just managed our way through. It’s a great group of people who continue to give back to American in various ways. You see Steve in the private sector but working to provide assistance to families who have service members who were killed. There’s still a whole bunch of us prepared to give back, and it’s a great thing about the tradition of the military where, even when you take the uniform off, you still care deeply about this country and aim to serve it.
QUESTION: Well, they’re proud of you. They were talking about you. So they missed you at the —
SECRETARY POMPEO: I hope they weren’t talking too much about me.
QUESTION: Well, I got some stories.
SECRETARY POMPEO: All right.
QUESTION: Talking about that picture we just showed at West Point.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes.
QUESTION: You know, Brian – that’s his next book.
SECRETARY POMPEO: All right.
QUESTION: All the stories about the —
QUESTION: Pompeo: The Untold Story.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I hope I get to see it quickly before you release it.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: Thank you so much for serving our country in so many capacities.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Steve.
QUESTION: All right, bring peace to the Middle East and tell the Russians to knock it off if you —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, sir, you got it. Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: All right. Thank you, sir.