Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is allegedly the puppet master behind President Trump’s motion to liquidate a top Iranian commander, CNN reported citing sources inside and around the White House, with the revelation indicating Pompeo’s influential status in the Trump administration.

According to several sources, taking Iranian General Qasem Soleimani – the leader of the elite Quds Force, a powerful military group with vast leverage in the region – “off the battlefield” has been Pompeo’s goal for a decade.

Pompeo “was the one who made the case to take out Soleimani, it was him absolutely”, a source said, adding he apparently floated the idea when debating the US Embassy raid over New Year with Trump.

“We took a bad guy off the battlefield”, Pompeo told CNN on 5 January. “We made the right decision”. The same day, Pompeo told ABC that killing Soleimani was important “because this was a fella who was the glue, who was conducting active plotting against the United States of America, putting American lives at risk”.

“He’s the one leading the way”, according to the source in Pompeo’s inner circle, discussing the showdown with Iran. “It’s the president’s policy, but Pompeo has been the leading voice in helping the president craft this policy. There is no doubt Mike is the one leading it in the Cabinet”.