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Quote of the Day: Jared Kushner Gave Classified Intel to Saudi Prince and then His Opponents Were Arrested

2018-03-22

Before losing his security access, Kushner was particularly interested about information on the Middle East, the Intercept reported, citing several former White House and U.S. government officials.
When Salman became the new heir to the throne in June last year, the daily brief reportedly began to focus on shifting political allegiances in Saudi Arabia, and named several Saudi royals who were opposed to the crown prince’s position.
Kushner then made a surprise trip to Riyadh in October, reportedly staying up until 4 a.m. with Salman to discuss strategy.
Several sources told the Intercept that following the meeting, Salman told close confidants that Kushner had spilled the names of the Saudi royals “disloyal” to the prince, although Kushner’s camp strongly denies the claim.
Salman reportedly told the United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed about the meeting with Kushner, bragging that he had Kushner “in his pocket,” sources told the Intercept.
Just a week after the meeting Salman began his large-scale corruption crackdown, which saw 200 officials arrested. According to the report, Saudi officials mentioned in the daily briefs were among those detained.

–From the Business Insider via Microsoft News digest, credited to Rosie Perper.

In other words, Jared used his access to the “Presidential Daily Brief” to obtain the names of Saudi rivals “disloyal” to Prince Salman, then passed that information on to the Prince.  This was apparently with the approval of Mr. Trump, who is a great fan of Mohammed bin Salman (an autocrat after his own heart.)  Whether this activity was “legal” is beside the point.  The point is that it is disingenuous.  The Prince claims to be suppressing corruption, when in fact he is merely substituting another form of corruption.  The Prince used the information passed on by Jared to imprison and shake down at least 200 immensely wealthy Saudis, who were forced to give away control of their assets (worth billions of dollars) in order to regain their freedom.  Some of these wealthy Saudis were reputedly tortured to enhance their compliance.

Thus, the intelligence obtained by our national security agencies on Saudi persons was passed through the President’s senior advisor (who has since lost his top-secret security clearance and access to the daily briefing) back to those in power in the kingdom to help them control their own people.  The Prince is said to have bragged that he had Jared in his pocket.

The President has gone on to promise to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia this week during a visit by the Prince.  He seems to think that he will shore up his approval ratings by supporting jobs for armaments-industry workers.  This seems unlikely, as he already has relatively high ratings among this group and there is little he can do to disguise his personality from those who are repelled by it.

We hope for an end to the war in Yemen, but that does not appear to be on the President’s agenda.  With no personal experience of war, he seems to think that it is somehow a good thing to send Saudi warplanes into Yemen with American targeting data (apparently error-ridden from the casualty figures) to blow up Yemeni infrastructure.  The Houthis are unlikely to be effectively deterred by the devastation and suffering visited on their country, and Mr. Trump does not appear to realize this.  Perhaps he should have “War is Hell” stamped on the back of his hand.

(photo of mountains in Yemen courtesy of pixabay.com and feinibookcosmo)

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