‘That’s Not the Definition of Imminent’: Pompeo Grilled Over Comment He Didn’t Know ‘Precisely When’ Iran Would Strike


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came under intense questioning in the White House briefing room for portraying the threat posed by Iran as “imminent” despite not knowing “precisely when” their planned attacks would be carried out.

During a Friday morning news conference, Pompeo was confronted by a member of the press corps about his remark.

“[Y]ou said we didn’t know precisely when and we didn’t know precisely where,” the reporter said, referencing Pompeo’s characterization of the Iran threats Thursday night on Fox News. “That’s not the definition of imminent.”

“We had specific information on an imminent threat,” Pompeo maintained. “And those threats included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period, full stop.”

“So you were mistaken when you said you didn’t know precisely when and didn’t know precisely where?” The reporter said, following up.

“Those are completely consistent thoughts,” Pompeo said. “I don’t know exactly which minute. We don’t know exactly which day it would have been executed. But it was very clear: Qasem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent.”

Later in the news conference, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins confronted Pompeo further on this point.

“Secretary Pompeo, what is your definition of “imminent?” Collins asked.

“This was gonna happen,” Pompeo said. “And American lives were at risk. And we would have been culpably negligent … had we not recommended to the president that he take this action against Qasem Soleimani.”

Watch above, via CNN and Fox News.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: joed@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo