TALKING TURKI: CIA alumni, whom The Dead Drop talked with recently, were bemused by recent comments by a senior member of the Saudi royal family. Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence and former Saudi ambassador to the U.K. and U.S. was quoted attacking the agency for reportedly concluding with a ‘high degree of confidence’ that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. “The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations. The examples of that are multitude,” Turki said to reporters in Abu Dhabi. Citing the Agency’s faulty analysis regarding Iraqi WMD in 2003, Turki said: “I don’t see why the CIA is not on trial in the United States. This is my answer to their assessment of who is guilty and who is not and who did what in the consulate in Istanbul.” The Saudi government did not publicly support the 2003 invasion, one Agency veteran told us, “because unlike the first Gulf war, they did not think they had a dog in the fight.” But the Saudis did not disagree with the assessment of U.S. intelligence (and most other intelligence agencies worldwide) that Saddam had WMD, we were told. But former U.S. associates are cutting Turki some slack. “When your Crown Prince deals with dissidents using bone saws, it is hard to expect people to stick their necks out,” we were told.
This is Cipher Brief Level I Member Only content. It can be accessed via login or by signing up to become a Cipher Brief Member. Joining this high-level, security-focused community is only $10/month (for an annual $120/yr membership).
Cipher Brief Members engage in high-level conversations about national and global security issues every day. If you’re not already a member, you should be.
If you are experiencing any issues with signing up or signing in, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to welcoming you to the community!