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Kansas Rep. And Intel Committee Member Mike Pompeo’s RX For Congress And The President On ISIS

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The former tank commander and graduate of West Point first in his class was a guest of John Campbell filling in for Hugh today. Unlike the President, his analysis of ISIS is clear, as is his course of action that’s needed.

The audio:

09-04hhs-pompeo

The transcript:

JC: On the line with us now, we have a relatively new, but I believe regular guest on the show, Congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas. Mike, welcome to the show.

MP: John, it’s great to be on with a fellow future Kansas.

JC: Yes, that’s right. That’s right, which I, now have I got you for this segment and the next one?

MP: Yes, sir. That’s right.

JC: Okay, good, because I want to have time. I want to get to the ISIS situation in a minute, because you’re on the Intelligence Committee, and because you are an Army officer and a graduate of West Point, first in your class and all that kind of stuff. So I think you’ll have a very unique perspective on this. But first, as a currently Kansas, have you been on the show since you crushed your primary opponent?

MP: I have not been on the show since the election on August 5th.

JC: Well then, congratulations on crushing your primary opponent.

MP: Thank you very much. We had a good day, and we were pleased that the voters of Kansas were so overwhelming in their support for me. It was, we worked hard, and we got a really good outcome. We were pretty happy.

JC: The 4th District of Kansas, I’m sure, will be happy to have you back. And all of America will be happy to have you back in Congress. But it’s amazing. Okay, so Kansas is this nice, little state in the middle of the country, red state, you know, Romney won it by 22 points. And so, and I turn on the computer this morning, and Politico and the Hill, and everything, and it’s all just all about Kansas news about this thing where Pat Roberts is Senator there. The Democratic candidates withdraws so that an independent can run. But now then, today, your secretary of state says no, the Democrat candidate can’t withdraw. And then we had Sam Brownback, your governor, on the show yesterday talking about his race being competitive. What’s going on there on a state level in Kansas, Mike Pompeo?

MP: John, it’s a good question. It is wild, political times here in Kansas to be sure. My race was different than anyone anticipated as well, being challenged by a former 8-term member of Congress. Now we have this issue about whether this Democrat’s even going to stay on the ballot in the U.S. Senate race with an independent who’s a self-funding guy, and a very difficult race for governor. So exciting times, I think you’re seeing two things go on, John. There is a case all across the country where Americans really want us to act. They want us to be aggressive. They want us to make the changes that they need. And in Kansas, they see their leaders working towards that but not getting there. And you know the political challenges we face as members of the House of Representatives. But they see that, and there’s a frustration. And I think to some degree, that gets taken out on every incumbent, perhaps justifiably so in some respects. But they’re demanding from us real leadership. And I think they’ll see that from both Governor Brownback and Senator Roberts. I think they’ll end up pulling through their races. But they’re certainly going to be competitive in ways that no one anticipated, even as recently as five or six months ago.

JC: Yeah, the thing I would think, and as you pointed out, I spend a lot of time in Kansas these days, have a farm there and everything else. And when I talk to people who are unhappy with either one of those, they never have really looked at what they would be voting for if they voted for the other person, though, because their voting in both those cases, the Democrat or the independent in the case of Roberts, or the Democrat in the case of Brownback, are both, these are not moderate people. These are lefties.

MP: Oh, that’s right, John, and that’s why I think as the next 60 days proceeds, Governor Brownback and Senator Roberts both end up being victorious. Kansas is a state that is a common sense conservative place, and neither of their opponents are that. The Senate candidate, Orman, is trying to hide as an independent, but he’s a radical lefty. And his first vote would be to keep Harry Reid as the majority leader. He hasn’t quite admitted that just yet, but ultimately, we know what he would do, and we know what Pat Roberts would do. And that kind of distinction, the fact that Senator Roberts has been in office so long is certainly weighing on his campaign. There’s no doubt about that. But when they see the Roberts record and lay it against what Mr. Orman would do, I think Senator Roberts ends up being just fine. And I think the same thing will happen with his opponent from the most liberal part of our state.

JC: Okay, let’s move on to the main reason I wanted you on today to talk about, is the exploding situation in Iraq and in Syria, and in the Middle East with ISIS or ISIL. I don’t know which you prefer to call it. We can call it whichever one you prefer. We did have Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, on yesterday, although not everybody heard that yesterday. But you have a perspective he doesn’t have in that you have worn the uniform. You graduated from West Point, first in your class. You were a tank commander, I believe, correct?

MP: That’s true, a long time ago.

JC: A long time ago, but you have not only perspective as a member of Congress and knowing the things that people in the Intelligence Committee know, but you also have the perspective having worn that uniform and been on the ground in situations. So give me your perspective on the threat that ISIS provides, and what response the United States should be giving.

MP: So John, let me try and step through it. So I guess your first question is what is the threat from this radical Islamic terrorist group. It’s real. It’s not just a threat to the folks in the neighborhood in the Middle East. It’s a threat right here in America. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be a month from now, but it’s real. And I derive that simply from if you look at their desire, that is their stated intent and their capacity. Their stated intent is very clear. For them, this is not about Mosul and Tikrit and Fallujah. Their mission is to extend the caliphate to places like Denver and Omaha and Wichita, Kansas, and to California. That’s their goal. Once you take their goal, you marry it up with potential capacity, and you see that that threat is very real, something that America has an obligation to counter and to push back on. And when I hear the President talk about a foreign policy that says don’t do stupid stuff, it’s, for a former soldier, it’s incredibly frustrating. Don’t do stupid stuff is not a strategy. It is not the way to think about defeating an enemy, and that’s what we have there. They’re at war with us. We need to be at war with them. And to give speeches and to rail about the gates of hell, and then bring back a terrorist who killed four Americans in Benghazi and give him a lawyer and put him in a federal prison? That’s not the gates of hell. That’s, Abu Khattala today sits in a federal prison getting three meals a day and a hot cot. And so the administration’s rhetoric doesn’t match their actions, and it is time for America to begin to act in a way that’s going to protect all of us.

JC: That is really a good point, really a good point. Okay, so now, we’ve only got a minute to the break, so you won’t be able to get through this complete answer, and we’ll get you back after the break. But I will see you Monday in Washington. We will be back there Monday in Washington. And I just finished in the section before this, segment before this, kind of setting up what’s going to happen back there. And there’s going to be, frankly, a lot of, we’re going to pass some bills that the Senate’s not going to take up. The Senate Democrats are going to talk about the Koch Brothers, one of your neighbors, and a bunch of other completely meaningless, worthless stuff to try and distract. But the bottom line is we are going to have to deal with this problem, whether the President wants to or not, and whether anybody wants to or not. So now I’ve talked all the way up to the break, so what I’m going to do is ask the question now. You can think about it over the break and come back and give me your answer. What do you, Mike Pompeo, from the Intelligence Committee, think we in Congress should be doing about ISIS over the next two weeks when we’re back in session? He’s going to give that answer when we’re back on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Stay with us.

— – — –

JC: It’s funny, Mike, you were talking before the break about how ISIS wants to, doesn’t just want to radicalize Fallujah, but they want to radicalize Wichita and Denver. And it says, there’s a CNN report, I’m just reading here, where they have some former ISIS defector, and he says, “That the goal is to establish an Islamic State that will encompass the Arab world, and after that, go on to other countries, just what you were saying. This former ISIS fighter also said that they executed an American so they could showcase their Western members and appeal to others outside Syria, and make them feel they belong to the same cause. So again, more and more evidence that this is not something, as much as many Americans would like to think, that well, it’s a long ways away, and they’re over there, and it’s really not a big threat to us now. It is a big threat to us now, so as you said before the break. But I’d asked you before the break what should we do about this in Congress in the next couple of weeks, and your answer is?

MP: So in Congress, we ought to do our Constitutional duty. We often rail on the President, that he’s got an obligation to fix this. He does. He’s the commander-in-chief. He has the tools. He has the capacity to do it. But in Congress, we have an obligation, too, and that is to make sure that the resources are available to accomplish the mission that we all choose. And the one I’ve described would be the complete and total defeat of both ISIS and al Qaeda that remains as part of the global jihad, and we ought to go on record and support that. So whatever that means in terms of ensuring that the President has the tools, military, political, resources in terms of dollars, and the authority he needs to track down these guys wherever he finds them. We ought to do that. And so we ought to have a thorough and complete debate. I think when we conclude that, I think most members of Congress will recognize that this threat is at a level that we should make sure and provide all that the President needs so he can execute the mission, and then continue to urge him to do this in a way that he has chosen not to do to date.

JC: Now you’re on the Intelligence Committee, which would be ground zero for this, and I realize it would involve Homeland Security potentially, and Armed Services Committee, etc. But do you have hearings scheduled? Do you have anything scheduled at this point? We go back into session Monday to start to work on this. Or have you been having phone calls or conversations?

MP: So there have been a bunch of calls about how to approach this, what the right legislative solution will be. It’ll take multiple committees, John. I think you’re right. It’ll be, Foreign Affairs will have a piece of this. There’s a State Department function here. There’s an Armed Services, Department of Defense function. But there is an enormous intelligence piece to this so that we can both find and fix the enemy, right, kind of the classic reconnaissance mission, making sure we identify friends inside the region that can help us there. They exist. There are folk who want to help us destroy ISIS. We should identify them, and we should allow them to do what they can do better than we can, so we only have to do what we actually have to do. And then we should make sure that our intelligence agencies are a part of providing the right data to all of our policy makers so that they can make good decisions about how to tactically and operationally crush this global jihad. We can do it, John. They’re not ten feet tall. But it is a serious threat, and the sooner we get after it, the less risk there is both to our soldiers, sailors and airmen who ultimately will have to be part of an operation to do this, and to the homeland. And if we have to do it now, and we have an opportunity to really successfully destroy these folks who are at war with us.

JC: The thing everyone’s afraid to talk about, will we need boots on the ground to totally eliminate ISIS?

MP: Well, I’ll say two things. First, we should not be afraid to talk about that. It is the case, the President throws these words out. He talks about America being war weary, and boots on the ground, and he thinks he has made a logical argument for America abandoning the threat, right? He uses that as sort of the tool to sort of knock down, well, if we’re not going to put boots on the ground, there’s nothing to do, and I’m just going to allow this to continue. There are so many gradations of activity that America can take between 80,000 soldiers moving in through Turkey and in through other countries, into Syria and Iraq. I would not advocate for that. We’re nowhere near being prepared to do something like that. But there is every opportunity to use American expertise. Some of those will be uniformed military personnel. Some of them may well actually put their boots on the ground in these places. It is not enough to send folks to defend an embassy. We have to go use our intelligence folks, our special operating people that have skill sets that no other country in the world has in an appropriate way. And we can do that, I think, without significant loss of American lives. We can get others to help us do the combat that it will ultimately take to destroy them both in Iraq and in Syria.

JC: Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, thank you. I’ll bet Hugh will be having you on again next week.

End of interview.

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