Ahead of Potential 2024 Run, Pompeo Reveals CIA-Mossad Op in New Book

Mike Pompeo praises ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in ‘Never Give an Inch,’ but calls Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a ‘loser’ and slams UN efforts of potential GOP rival Nikki Haley

Ben Samuels
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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual meeting in Las Vegas last November.Credit: John Locher/AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo details the “James Bond spy stuff” he got up to with Israel’s Mossad chief in his newly published book, which is widely seen as a major step toward a 2024 presidential run against former boss Donald Trump.

In “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,” Pompeo includes new revelations about his personal and professional experiences regarding Israel, including that the CIA helped extract Mossad agents from “a very important mission” at the behest of then-Mossad Director Yossi Cohen.

Pompeo does not specify the specific operation, though the timing is consistent with Israel’s January 2018 op where it seized Iranian nuclear archives from Tehran.

Pompeo recounts Cohen calling him and asking: “Mike, we just had a team complete a very important mission, and now I’m having a bit of trouble extracting some of them. Can I get your help.”

“Whenever Yossi called, I took it. He did the same for me. ... I was there to help our friends, no questions asked, no matter the risks,” Pompeo writes.

He says the CIA swung into action “across the world,” connecting with their Israeli counterparts and getting them to safe houses within 24 hours, before guiding them back to “their home countries without the world ever knowing that one of the most significant clandestine operations ever conducted was now complete.”

The book jacket for "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love," by Mike Pompeo.Credit: Broadside Books

Pompeo places significant emphasis on his close relationship with Cohen, largely based on their shared common ground concerning Iran.

“During my time in the administration, there would be no more capable partner, and as it turns out, no better friend in the world than Yossi,” Pompeo writes, adding that their secret work saved countless American and Israeli lives.

He further credits their relationship as “building a scaffolding” that empowered then-U.S. President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take risks with other Middle Eastern countries.

He details their first meeting in February 2017 while Pompeo was still CIA director. Their “shared work on crushing Iran” was agreed to be “100 percent complementary,” despite any suspicions between the CIA and Mossad.

The two relayed these intentions to their agencies’ respective Iran teams in Israel and the United States, giving them “the green light to do real espionage.”

Pompeo details two days spent together at a CIA training facility where he and Cohen spent time “doing James Bond spy stuff: racing and crashing cars and firing exotic weapons.”

Pompeo notes that Cohen’s Orthodox Judaism and his own evangelical Christianity helped strengthen their bond, shared over “good bourbon and cigars.”

Ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, right, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu en route to Cyprus.Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

The former secretary of state uses the book to slam his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, and former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis for attempting to persuade Trump against withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo says Mattis argued that it would draw the United States and Israel into a war with Iran.

“After a year of Tillerson and Mattis pressuring President Trump to stay in the corrupt deal, I wanted [Israel and its Arab neighbors] to know that America now had a secretary of state who saw the situation as they did,” he writes. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018.

Pompeo describes Netanyahu as “a force of nature” similar to Trump, albeit of different temperaments and backgrounds.

He first met the Israeli premier while serving in Congress in 2011, where he details how Netanyahu got a “good chuckle” out of Pompeo detailing the burgeoning evangelical Christian support for Israel – which has since become a defining characteristic of Netanyahu’s engagement with the United States.

“In private, Bibi was calm and loquacious. Always thinking, always pushing and always happy to hear various points of view. He was a capable manager, but also one who could burn through team members at lightning speed,” he writes.

Pompeo details how Netanyahu once flew to Brussels to meet with him in a cramped hotel room to share a single message. “Like me,” he writes, “he was often frustrated with his Ministry of Defense and its unwillingness to use the tools they had been provided.”

Abbas the ‘loser’

Much of the book is spent stressing the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Pompeo says he was the one senior-level American that Palestinian officials would speak with, but writes that “making peace would deprive the [Palestinian Authority] of the power, money and grifting opportunities that allow them to live lavishly while the rest of the Palestinians scrape by.” He deems an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as a “zero-probability event.”

Pompeo expresses concern, though, over the road map Israel was reportedly mulling in early 2020 at the behest of Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner, saying he became increasingly concerned that political pressure from the U.S. might push Netanyahu to accept the “deal of the century.”

“My ace in the hole was my understanding of [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas as the loser he was. I was confident that he would reject the map before even considering it – and he did.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Lisbon, December 2019.Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Pompeo writes that Netanyahu expressed concern that “Jared was too willing to give up Jerusalem” in a December 2019 meeting in Portugal. Following the meeting, Netanyahu leaked that Pompeo proposed a formal mutual defense treaty, obligating each country to come to the other’s aid if attacked. “It was false, but it was a good story for him and, after correcting the record, our partnership did not diminish in any way,” Pompeo states.

‘Milquetoast Scandinavian globalists’

Pompeo pointedly praises Kushner, alongside then-ambassador David Friedman (as well as, among others, Jason Greenblatt and Ron Dermer), for helping bring fresh thinking to the region, which he says made the Abraham Accords possible.

He links the normalization agreement between Israel and Arab states such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to shared concerns about Iran, as well as a “new generation of leaders in the Arab world who didn’t harbor the same hardline Arab nationalist or antisemitic views as their predecessors.”

Pompeo notes that the diplomatic process came against the backdrop of fragile Israeli politics and the PA “working mightily against our efforts,” noting all parties involved “stayed the course of choosing the right allies.”

“Only the prejudices of milquetoast Scandinavian globalists prevented President Trump, Bibi Netanyahu and [UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed] from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize,” he claims.

Then-White House adviser Jared Kushner during a press briefing on the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, August 2020.Credit: Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

Pompeo notes that they tried hard to bring Saudi Arabia into the accords, coming “ever so close, thanks largely to Mohammed bin Salman.” He adds that the “world owes him a debt of gratitude” for giving his tacit approval to the accords.

His own personal highlights during his time in the Trump administration include a visit to the Golan Heights in November 2020 and being present for the dedication of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. He again praises Friedman as “the kind of diplomat who made the Trump administration so effective.”

He takes credit for authorizing the United States to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council for its role as a “hotbed of anti-Israel vitriol that often became outright antisemitism” – a decision that was reversed by the Biden administration soon after it assumed power.

Pompeo has made the U.S. education system a central tenet of his burgeoning political aspirations. He reflects on confronting “foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Zionism that pervades American higher education” while attending Harvard Law School in the 1990s. More recently, “anti-Israel bias has only gotten worse on America’s so-called prestige campuses today,” he adds, writing that “a rising generation of hateful Ilhan Omar clones seeks to rupture one of America’s most important alliances.”

Pompeo further slams Democratic Rep. Omar, accusing her of “anti-Western and antisemitic ideologies” that make her “hardwired to blame America first and despise Israel.”

He also uses the book to criticize potential 2024 challenger Nikki Haley, arguing that “she gave fine remarks supporting Israel, but didn’t do much else” during her tenure as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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