State Department Secretary Pompeo on Two Pressing Issues

May 13, 2019 - San Francisco, CA - – In a recent interview with Britain’s Fox affiliate Sky News, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touched on two items that are of primary interest, both to the West and also to the special relationship that exists [again, post-Obama] with the United Kingdom.

The first deals with the Secretary’s unscheduled surprise trip to Iraq. The background being that two weeks ago the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization [FTO] making it illegal to in any way provide material aid or support, the penalty for doing so being incarceration for up to 20 years. The designation took place against a backdrop of increasingly threatening words and deeds by the IRGC regarding US interest in the Middle East

Secretary Pompeo - “So my trip to Baghdad was to talk with the Iraqi leadership, based on some very specific threats we had about Iranian activity that was taking place that put at substantial risk our facilities, our men and women who are serving in Iraq. And I wanted to make very clear to them that they needed to be kept secure, and the Iraqi leadership was great, and have done that. They’re – they have certainly made that commitment. But we also wanted to talk to them about the fact that we know they’re – Iraq is a neighbor of Iran, but we want to do all the things we can to make sure that Iraq has the opportunity to be independent and sovereign and free from interference from any nation.”

With the United States engaged in a trade dispute with the People’s Republic of China there is a heightened concern regarding the effect of certain problematic technology coming out of the country that can be configured to breach firewalls in even highly secure US Government computer systems. The question relates to Britain’s use of Huawei hardware in supposedly secure systems and the United States decision not to interact with such networks given the obvious possibility of system integrity being breached.

Secretary Pompeo - Well, when it comes to Huawei and ZTE, the United States has been crystal clear: We don’t believe you can have those technology in your systems and still have a trusted network. We’re happy to continue to look at technology and see ways we might achieve that, but the United States for its part will only participate in trusted networks. We will only share America’s information with those networks that we are confident aren’t under the control of China or China’s government. And so there’s real risk, if countries choose that path, that we won’t be able to participate in those networks.”

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