October 14, 2003


Foggy Bottom's Friends: Why is the State Department so cozy with the Saudis? (JOEL MOWBRAY, October 13, 2003, Wall Street Journal)

Most of the Saudi money, though, goes indirectly to former State officials, most commonly by means of think tanks. This approach pays dividends in many ways: Foggy Bottom retirees get to have their cake--without the public realizing they're eating it--and the Saudis get to have "indirect" lobbyists, who promote the Saudi agenda under the cover of the think-tank label. Three organizations in particular are the primary beneficiaries of Saudi petrodollars, and all are populated with former State officials: the Meridian International Center, the Middle East Policy Council and the Middle East Institute.

After a long and "distinguished" career in the Foreign Service, Walter Cutler took the reins at the Meridian International Center. He had served as ambassador to Zaire and Tunisia, and twice in Saudi Arabia, and he stayed close to the Saudis after leaving State. Mr. Cutler told the Washington Post that the Saudis had been "very supportive of the center." Meridian is not alone. The Middle East Policy Council, which also receives significant Saudi funding, counts among its ranks former ambassadors--career Foreign Service members all--Charles Freeman, Frank Carlucci, and Hermann Eilts.

The Middle East Institute, officially on the Saudi payroll, receives some $200,000 of its annual $1.5 million budget from the Saudi government, and an unknown amount from Saudi individuals--often a meaningless distinction since most of the "individuals" with money to donate are members of the royal family, which constitutes the government. MEI's chairman is Wyche Fowler, who was ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1996-2001, and its president is Ned Walker, who has served as the deputy chief of Mission in Riyadh and ambassador to Egypt.

Also at MEI: David Mack, former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs; Richard Parker, former ambassador to Algeria, Lebanon, and Morocco; William Eagleton, former ambassador to Syria; Joseph C. Wilson, career foreign-service office and former deputy chief of mission in Baghdad;

We've all been assuming that Joe Wilson served only two masters -- the American people, putatively, and the CIA, in reality -- but it now looks like he also may serve the House of Sa'ud.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 14, 2003 11:56 AM

It's not good for the soul to be more fanatically pro-Bush than Mr. Bush is himself. The President has already admitted that Ambassador Wilson's report about African uranium was correct, and all these smear jobs on Wilson won't change that fact.

Posted by: Steve Sailer at October 14, 2003 9:16 PM

Who cares about the uranium? I want to know what CIA was up to.

Posted by: oj at October 14, 2003 9:21 PM

No, he didn't. The report was about Africa, which
includes Zaire, Congo, S. Africa, all suppliers of
uranium. Wilson's report, as described in his interviews with Josh Marshall and others,seems
to indicate that he believe, that such transactions are done in Niger, along transparent
lines, which is a major delusion. He got his previous posting, because of his post in a neighboring country, fifteen years before. He was
then posted as political advisor to NATO chief
Wesley Clark (so that's where he got his advice)

His role in the Saudi loobying trace thru JW Ventures, and most recently Rock Creek Ventures
is fair game

Posted by: narciso at October 14, 2003 11:58 PM
« DOES ANYBODY EDIT THE LA TIMES? (via Glenn Dryfoos): | Main | HEY, MOM, CAN I HAVE A RIDE?: »