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In Bitter Exchange, Pompeo Defends His Concerns for Diplomats’ Security

“I’m taking him at his word,” Mr. Meeks said — undercutting Mr. Pompeo’s earlier criticism of Mrs. Clinton by agreeing that certain omissions should not always signal the importance of certain topics.

Far more important, Mr. Meeks said, is funding commitments by presidential administrations. He then noted that the State Department’s budget for diplomatic security has been cut by 45 percent since the end of the Obama administration — from over $3 billion to a proposed $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2019.

“So where is the concern now — other side of the aisle, of this administration — about diplomatic security?” Mr. Meeks asked.

In Bitter Exchange, Pompeo Defends His Concerns for Diplomats’ Security
In Bitter Exchange, Pompeo Defends His Concerns for Diplomats’ Security

“Diplomatic security is not about dollars expended,” Mr. Pompeo answered that, adding that how the money is spent is more important.

Mr. Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex. W. Tillerson, took at least 10 months — of 14 months in the job — to sit for a full briefing with the State Department’s head of diplomatic security.

During the hearing, which touched on a range of diplomatic hot spots, from North Korea to Iran to South Sudan, Mr. Pompeo also said the State Department would soon respond “proportionately” to the Venezuelan government’s decision this week to expel the top American diplomat from Caracas.

He said the State Department received the formal notification on Wednesday morning that Todd D. Robinson, who is the United States Embassy’s chargé d’affaires, was being expelled. He also noted that the State Department has been told that another diplomat was being expelled.

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