During a segment on the network last year, Mr. Urban suggested the possibility of a proportional military response against Iran in retaliation for the country’s downing of a crewless American drone. “If I were a betting man, I’d bet that there’d be some sort of a Tomahawk missile strike on the site that launched this,” Mr. Urban said, referring to one of Raytheon’s products. Mr. Trump had approved a retaliatory strike against Iran in that case but pulled back at the last minute.
And during an appearance this year, after praising Mr. Trump’s hard-line against Iran, Mr. Urban was asked by a CNN host whether a move against Iran might represent “an opportunity for your companies.” Mr. Urban rejected the question, praising the president for being “incredibly restrained with the use of force,” and adding “no one is looking to profiteer here.”
Members of Congress from both parties opposed the Raytheon arms sales to the Saudis, in part because of Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the Yemen war, which has left thousands of civilians dead and millions suffering from famine, and later because of the grisly killing by Saudi agents of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
By late summer 2018, Raytheon executives were under increasing pressure to close the stalled deals. At least one of the contracts called for onerous penalties if the company did not deliver, and executives had also already booked the sales as expected revenue, according to current and former government officials.
Thomas A. Kennedy, then the company’s chief executive and now its executive chairman, sought a meeting with Mr. Pompeo that fall, but Mr. Pompeo pushed it to lower-level officials, who met with subordinates of Mr. Kennedy that September, the officials said.
After Mr. Urban later sought the meeting for Raytheon, the State Department issued the emergency declaration overriding the congressional block and the arms sales proceeded. The meeting happened weeks later. Mr. Urban did not attend.
The State Department played down the meeting, noting in a statement from a spokeswoman that Mr. Pompeo meets with corporate executives “with great frequency” and has an entire bureau at the department dedicated to working with the private sector on national security matters.