Pompeo Would Use 2001 ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force’ as Authority for War against Iran
June 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee zeroed in on efforts by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to link Iran with al-Qaeda, during a hearing yesterday at which Brian Hook, the State Department’s point man on Iran, testified. The hearing follows at least one classified briefing provided to the Congress by Pompeo, in which he reportedly made the case that the 2001 Authorization To Use Military Force (AUMF), passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks against Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, gives the President the authority to attack Iran.
When asked directly if the administration believed that the 2001 AUMF gives it the authority for military strikes on Iran, Hook conceded, “I’m not a War Powers Act scholar. I can only tell you that everything we would do would be lawful.” But pressed by Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman on whether Iran was responsible for the deaths of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, Hook replied, “No.” Hook insisted that any potential U.S. military moves on Iran would be defensive, saying: “There is no talk of offensive action.”
As for last week’s meeting with Pompeo, two House members, Republican Matt Gaetz and Democrat Elissa Slotkin, told reporters that Pompeo had raised the notion that the 2001 AUMF, first used to approve the war on the Taliban and al-Qaeda after 9/11, could be used to attack Iran if necessary. “We were absolutely presented with a full formal presentation on how the 2001 AUMF might authorize war on Iran,” Slotkin said. “Secretary Pompeo said it with his own words.”
According to the New York Times, Pompeo has been making the case, both in classified briefings and in public statements, that Iran and al-Qaeda are closely tied together. “There is no doubt there is a connection. Period. Full stop,” he said during a Senate hearing in April when pressed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). The experts are doubtful, however. Slotkin, a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official who has worked in Iraq, said, “Any of us working on national security should be looking at any talk of ties between senior Iranian leaders and al-Qaeda with a real skeptical eye.”