According to Pompeo, the action was in a bid to disrupt an “imminent attack” that could have cost American lives in the Middle East region.
“I can’t talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the President’s decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives,” Pompeo said on CNN.
Pompeo explained that there were plans by Soleimani to “take big action, as he described it, that would have put hundreds of lives at risk.”
He further noted that the death of Soleimani would make Americans safer in the region.
Pompeo stressed that a US intelligence community assessment had led to the strike.
“The risk of doing nothing was enormous. Intelligence community made that assessment and President Trump acted decisively last night”.
Pompeo added that after the death of a US contractor in Iraq on December 27, “we watched the intelligence flow in that talked about Soleimani’s travels in the region and the work that he was doing to put Americans further at risk.”
“And it was time to take this action so that we could disrupt this plot, deter further aggression from Qasem Soleimani and the Iranian regime, as well as to attempt to de-escalate the situation,” he said.
On the advisory to US citizens to leave Iraq, Pompeo said, “the statement that we issued was appropriate, that the timing was right for that.”
However, Pompeo has spoken with his counterparts in China, the United Kingdom and Germany.
Statements released by the State Department said he “made clear that the United States remains committed to de-escalation”.