Congressman Mike Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and of the Select Committee on Benghazi joined me on today’s show to talk about Hillary’s “homebrew” server:
HH: Joined now by Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas’ 4th Congressional District. Follow him on Twitter, @RepMikePompeo. Mr. Congressman, Hillary Clinton gave some statements yesterday. What was your reaction to her assertions of no security breaches have occurred?
MP: Well, you know, lots of folks run around thinking they haven’t had any security breaches, and the Iranians and the Chinese are reading everything they write. And so I think rather than take any individual’s word for that, we ought to make sure that the system was not in fact breached, that we didn’t in fact have a problem, beyond the fact that she chose not to keep her official email where it was intended to be kept. And so I think we’ve got an enormous obligation to make sure that that system truly functioned the way that she described. And to take her word for it, I think, would be an enormous mistake.
HH: Does the Committee have the authority, the Select Committee on Benghazi, I don’t know that it will use it, but does the Committee have the authority to subpoena the server?
MP: So I’ve talked with Chairman Gowdy about precisely the set of issues surrounding how we go about making sure we have rounded up all the relevant information for the effort we have underway to find out how and what was the case that four Americans were killed on September 11th, 2012. And we are working with counsel to figure out the best way to obtain that server. It was interesting, Hugh. She said in the press conference she didn’t use the word delete, but at one point, she said hey, those emails are no longer on the server. Then later, she said hey, you can’t see the server, because I have private emails on them. So we don’t even know the status of that particular piece of hardware today. And as Chairman Gowdy has said, we’re going to bring her in to find out the details, and I hope that she’ll come just explain that to the American people, and to our committee. And if we can find a way to get that information, we’re going to do it.
HH: Now in terms of, and let’s take it away from her server for a moment to the generic question of internet security. Private servers have lots of, you know, I have a private server for Hughhewitt.com. I’m sure it is vulnerable to being hacked. I put on security. I’m sure it’s commercial security. I’m sure it’s pretty good. But I’ve been hacked before. Does, do you think the former Secretary of State has a clue as to the nature and the number of people that foreign governments task to try and penetrate our sensitive systems?
MP: Hugh, she should. She was the Secretary of State for goodness sake. She should be deeply aware that terrorist groups and the Iranians and the Russians and the Chinese spend countless tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to find out simple things, right, Hugh? She said yesterday she didn’t have any classified information. I don’t know if that’s correct or not. But even if she didn’t, a mere pattern, right, if she wrote happy birthday notes to a friend on a certain recurring basis, right? Foreign intelligence groups want to know all of those things about the patterns of our government’s leadership.
HH: And because then they penetrate the other, they go for the soft spots. I’ve been doing this since 1983.
MP: Precisely right. That’s precisely right.
HH: And they surveil everyone of any, you know, you had to register when you went out of the country in the old days, because you would be targeted by foreign governments for compromising situations. It’s as though she was unaware of the way that the other team plays, which is hardball all the time.
MP: It appears to be the case. Look, there’s a reason, Hugh, that we, you, the taxpayers, spend tens of millions of dollars to create a secure communication system on behalf of the Secretary of State, right? We provide firewalls and we do all that. And they still sometimes, you’ve seen, right? We saw ISIS get penetration of our Department of Defense system. We’ve seen these things before. To think that any private citizen could match those levels of security stretches the imagination beyond the scope of at least mine. And for her not to have appreciated the risk that that created is staggering, and for our committee, important, because we need to understand all the events surrounding that tragic evening.
HH: So Congressman Pompeo, when do you guys next get together to take action on how to pursue the investigation?
MP: So we’re, even as we speak, Hugh, we are constantly in contact. I’ve communicated with Chairman Gowdy as recently as last night. I spoke today with Representative Jordan. We are all communicating, trying to figure out precisely the best approach for the American people so that they can get the answers that they so desperately have been trying to get, in spite of the stonewalling, in spite of the delays, not only from the State Department, but from all of the executive branch that was involved in decision making that night.
HH: I wonder if any of your Democratic colleagues who condemned the creation of the Select Committee are now admitting that there is an obvious reason that the Select Committee was needed. Has anyone come forward and rather sheepishly said sorry, you’re right, we had no idea?
MP: Have not heard that, yet. I’m standing by.
HH: (laughing) Okay, let me turn to the other topic, which is the letter that went from 47 Senators. I began the show today with Dr. Leslie Gelb, who blasted the Republicans yesterday for their “acts of near treachery.” I liked the letter. I applaud the letter. I believe the hysteria that is in response to the letter is the hysteria of people who realize these Senators are doing America’s will. What do you think of their letter and the hysterical reaction?
MP: So I think what the outrage from the letter has shown is how indefensible the President’s actions are with respect to Iran more broadly, and specifically with respect to his efforts to cut a deal with will result in the Iranians have two or four or six nuclear weapons in well too short a period. And I think there’s a deep recognition now that the President has taken himself to a place which is going to put America at risk. And when 47 United States Senators called him out for that, by just simply pointing out that Congress has not only the right but the obligation to participate in America’s foreign policy in the ways the letter so perfectly described, I think the outrage that you’re seeing reflects the knowledge that Senator Cotton’s letter was spot on.
HH: When Leslie Gelb, one of the wise men of Washington, D.C. allegedly says that the letter was an unintelligible rant, what do you think?
MP: I read the letter. I actually have just finished communicating with Senator Cotton. I actually know exactly what his purposes. We don’t have to guess. His purpose was articulated clearly in the letter. He was articulating a vision of America’s Constitution and the appropriate role of the United States Senate in conducting foreign policy, and making clear that many Senators, although not all, many Senators understand that the path the President is headed on leads to enormous risks not only to Israel and the Middle East, but to America, and that they are going to do all that they can to make sure that that agreement doesn’t present risk to all of us.
HH: Last question, Congressman. When people say this might harm the chances of a bipartisan rejection of the deal, they’re saying that politics would enter into their assessment of the deal. Aren’t they admitting against their interests there?
MP: I sure think they are. I both hope and can’t imagine that politics are going to intervene. There are dozens and dozens of Senators that did not sign that letter that also understand that this was a bad deal. They chose simply not to sign it, but recognize the President is not serving American national security right, and I am confident that they’ll do the right thing when the time comes.
HH: Congressman Mike Pompeo, always a pleasure to talk with you.
End of interview.