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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

Susan Pompeo: The travelling diplomat's wife on a mission to improve State Department

The secretary of state said his wife was getting to areas he wouldn't have time to reach

Susan Pompeo, wife of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, greets the Emirati Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba, at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)
Susan Pompeo, wife of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, greets the Emirati Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba, at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has described her as a “force multiplier” but the fact that his wife Susan accompanied him for his multi-leg Middle East tour during a government shutdown has raised eyebrows in the US.

In a somewhat rare move for a senior US diplomat visiting the Middle East, Susan Pompeo has accompanied her husband from Cairo to Baghdad.

Mrs Pompeo was seen warmly greeting to UAE’s Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba at the NYU campus in Abu Dhabi.

The secretary of state has said his wife was also on a working visit, meeting diplomats and their families to gauge how to improve their quality of life and make suggestions as to how that can be improved. These are tasks he says he would not have had time to do himself.

“With respect to my wife’s travel, she is on an important mission as well,” he said. “She is here on a working trip doing her best to do what you would see a military leader’s spouse do — trying to help the State Department be better.” Mrs Pompeo, her husband said, would then compile a report for the State Department with recommendations.

He also pointed out that this was not the first time she had carried out this role but had met with CIA families when Mr Pompeo was head of the intelligence agency. So active was her role that she was dubbed "the first lady of the CIA" in reference to the president's wife who usually takes on official roles and champions causes while her husband serves in office.

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Read more:

Mike Pompeo says Houthi rebels violating Hodeidah ceasefire

Mike Pompeo: Syria pullout won't stop fight against ISIS or Iranian influence

National Editorial: US engagement in the Middle East is critical to global security

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Updated: January 14, 2019 07:50 PM

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