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US renews protection former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo top aide Iran threats

Biden administration renews taxpayer-funded protection for Pompeo and aide due to "serious and credible" threats from Iran. Middle East tensions soar.

The Biden administration has once again extended taxpayer-funded protection for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one of his top aides, Brian Hook, due to persistent threats from Iran. The State Department notified Congress that the threats remain "serious and credible" and warrant government-provided security details. The notifications, dated Dec. 19 but transmitted to Congress on Dec. 22, come amid heightened tensions in the Middle East following Israel's war against Hamas and deadly blasts in Iran at a memorial service for Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Pompeo and Hook were the public faces of the U.S. "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran after Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. Iran has blamed both for the killing of Soleimani. The notifications, signed by Deputy Secretary of State for Management Richard Verma, mark the 16th time the State Department has extended protection to Hook since he left office in January 2021 and the 13th time it has been extended to Pompeo. Pompeo had government security for several months after leaving office as a former Cabinet secretary.

The State Department was reported to be paying over $2 million per month for 24-hour security for Pompeo and Hook in March 2022. The latest determinations do not specify the dollar amount for the protection. Although the notifications do not explicitly identify Iran as the source of the threats, Iranian officials have expressed anger at Pompeo and Hook for leading the Trump administration's policy against Iran, including designating the Revolutionary Guard Corps a "foreign terrorist organization," imposing unprecedented sanctions, and orchestrating the Soleimani assassination.

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