Pompeo (very confidential)

2018-04-20 21:26

Dear Board of Directors,


I wanted to send a quick note about a one-on-one meeting I had with CIA Director Pompeo first thing this morning. In short – it was an impressive 35-minute conversation and I ask that you please do not forward this email.


First, the backstory:

  • Last Saturday, we distributed one of our GLOBAL GAB emails to our entire network with our readout of Pompeo’s confirmation hearing.

  • Within an hour, I got an email from Pompeo’s special assistant asking if I had time to meet with the Director this week. Needless to say, I did and by that afternoon, I had a confirmed a meeting with the next Secretary of State.


A bit more about the backstory:

  • While I was surprised at the immediacy of the request, I have to say I am very proud of our team effort.

  • Strategically, there is a lot that went into this one: my colleagues’ successful outreach to Pompeo over the past few weeks (Pompeo fondly remembers attending our South Carolina event where he represented Senator Rubio); the GR team – that despite heavy competition, secured 70% of the SFRC asking questions about our issues during the confirmation hearing; and a very clever GLOBAL GAB that caught Pompeo’s attention – together, all worked in our favor.

  • Dan Glickman also met with Pompeo earlier this week (a Kansas 4th Congressional District reunion) and I know had an equally successful meeting.


My takeaways: I thanked him for his positive statements at his confirmation hearing on bringing the “swagger” back to the State Department and sticking up for the budget. I encouraged him to use his platform to redefine America First by emphasizing how America’s leadership in the world, through development and diplomacy, is in our national interest.


While you will have to wait until the board meeting for the really juicy details (prefer verbal communications on this one), here are a few quick takeaways:

  • He struck me as very authentic and sincere in his commitment to what I call the “enterprise” of the State Department and the work of our diplomatic and development professionals.

  • He is well aware of the challenges ahead – from filling the personnel vacancies to ensuring appropriate budgets – but I felt like I was talking to a partner in these battles. More in May on this subject.

  • He is not only very smart but a savvy politician. Unlike his predecessor, I believe he will be a Secretary of State who will engage – with Foggy Bottom professionals, with our community, with the Hill, and most of all, with the American public. This is someone who not only will be comfortable participating in a town hall meeting, but he will be effective.


I did make the ask to him to come to our board meeting in May, but I got the sense that all the moving pieces on North Korea may trump us, if you excuse the expression. Senator Corker has scheduled the SFRC business meeting for Monday at 5pm to vote on the nomination. Personally, I am disappointed that the nomination has become so partisan.


But for our issue – after more than a year of trying to engage Secretary Tillerson, the USGLC has already had two “first dates” this week (Dan and me) with Mike Pompeo before he was even confirmed. It is still a tough road ahead with this Administration, but as an optimist, I think this bodes well for our issue given the 70th Secretary of State is expected to be confirmed by mid-next week.


Enjoy your weekend.



Liz Schrayer, USGLC