- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 16, 2019

The U.S. is considering a “full range of options” to respond to attacks by Iran earlier this week on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, including military action, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

In an interview with CBS’ Margaret Brennan, Mr. Pompeo said he is “confident [the U.S.] can take a set of actions that would restore deterrence.” When asked if such action would include a military response, the secretary responded, “of course.”

Lawmakers in recent weeks have warned that the administration lacks congressional approval to use military force as tensions continue to rise in the region.

Mr. Pompeo said the administration “always [has] the authorization to defend American interests.”

Congressional leaders, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said that the White House cannot cite the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as authorization to strike in the Middle East, and have reiterated that only Congress can declare war.

“Every option that we look at will be fully lawful,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Sen. Tom Cotton, who sits on both the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees, said that retaliatory military strikes against Iran would be warranted.

“Unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said on CBS following Mr. Pompeo’s appearance.

The Arkansas Republican said he believes the administration does have the authority to use military action against Iran in this case without congressional approval.

“The fastest way to get the fire and fury of the U.S. military unleashed on you is to interfere with the freedom of navigation on the open seas and in the air. That’s exactly what Iran did.” he said.

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