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Why Saudi Arabia Gets a Pass in the War on Terror

Thursday, 16 May 2002 12:00 AM

Furthermore, this is a situation that goes back to the 1973 oil embargo. It started with President Richard Nixon right after the Yom Kippur war of that year.

The U.S. then "cut a deal with Saudi Arabia saying: ‘You invest your money and buy our arms, and we’ll take your oil. No questions asked,’” says onetime CIA case officer Robert Baer.

Until Sept. 11, Saudi Arabia was generally regarded as a testy but reliable ally. But the terrorist attacks on America brought the Saudi activities into clearer focus. They are no longer regarded as reliable.

The Clinton administration "dismantled the CIA,” Baer told the audience at a luncheon meeting Thursday of Accuracy in Media.

"The CIA has no sources in Saudi Arabia. None,” he said. "They closed their eyes. Too risky. We must not offend the Saudis. They control 25 percent of the world’s oil. There was not a single mosque-watcher when clerics were recruiting people" for Osama bin Laden’s al- Qaeda network.

"You just had to walk into the mosques [in Afghanistan] to see what was happening,” Baer told his audience. "Everybody in those mosques was trained and funded by Saudi Arabia.”

"I don’t know how to deal with it,” Baer said in answer to a question from NewsMax.com, "but they are not helping us in the investigation. We are not being helped by Saudi Arabia. This thing [the Sept. 11 attacks] was launched with Saudi money,” and "sending patrols out in Afghanistan looking for arms caches is not going to help.”

During the 1990s, the CIA’s ability to do its work was severely damaged because "politicization of the upper levels proliferated.” Officials at the agency were more worried about "not annoying the White House.”

"We basically now are cheated” of the protection Americans have a right to expect, according to Baer, who, as one of the CIA’s top field officers of the past quarter century, dedicated himself to the on-the-ground job of running agents in the back alleys of the Middle East. He was able to observe firsthand the chilling picture of how terrorism works on the inside.

The CIA now worries itself more with "computers, other software and sexual harassment” instead of human intelligence in the field.

There’s another factor, Baer said. The Saudis throw money around like water. Many people in Washington have dreams of retiring and going to work for Saudi Arabia. Add to that an upper-level "cultural bias” in favor the Third World, and one can see the war on terrorism is badly compromised.

Baer said the U.S. is "a long way from solving the problem,” and the media in this country are clueless.

NewsMax.com has reported on terrorist cells with inflammatory rhetoric operating right here in the United States. One person in the AIM audience reported that an Islamic facility "the size of 22 football fields” is planned in Loudon County, Va., in suburban Washington.

In his book "

He reports that after Bill Clinton assumed the presidency, he talked about getting Saddam Hussein out of power, then turned against the CIA agents who had been in Iraq on the trumped-up charges of trying to assassinate the Iraqi dictator.

"I can’t say much more than that,” Baer told NewsMax, noting the CIA required two and a half years to give its legally required approval for his book.

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Furthermore, this is a situation that goes back to the 1973 oil embargo. It started with President Richard Nixon right after the Yom Kippur war of that year. The U.S. then cut a deal with Saudi Arabia saying: 'You invest your money and buy our arms, and we'll take your...
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2002-00-16
Thursday, 16 May 2002 12:00 AM
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