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Sleeping with the Devil

How Wash­ing­ton Sold Our Soul for Sau­di Crude

by Robert Baer
2003, Three Rivers Press
ISBN 1400052688
248 pages.

From Pub­lish­ers Week­ly
In his blus­ter­ing sec­ond book, for­mer CIA offi­cer Baer (See No Evil: The True Sto­ry of a Ground Sol­dier in the CIA’s War on Ter­ror­ism) tar­gets Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s cor­rupt lead­er­ship and cozy rela­tion­ship with Wash­ing­ton. He argues that because the Saud­is pay vast sums to pow­er­ful Amer­i­cans, often in the form of lucra­tive defense con­tracts, those U.S. agen­cies that could help stop ter­ror­ism are thwart­ed by their own side. For exam­ple, CIA supe­ri­ors tell Baer that they have no oper­at­ing direc­tive to look into Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism in Cen­tral Asia in the ear­ly ’90s. He is deeply dis­ap­point­ed in both the CIA and the State Depart­ment, which he says looked the oth­er way through­out the ’90s as wide­spread dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the sta­tus quo took root in Sau­di Ara­bia. While Baer’s attacks on Wash­ing­ton’s “con­sent of silence” some­times beg for clar­i­fi­ca­tion, his many work­ing years in the Mid­dle East and Cen­tral Asia give him great believ­abil­i­ty, and he makes a strong case that Sau­di Ara­bia-with sky­rock­et­ing birth rates, grow­ing unem­ploy­ment, a falling per capi­ta income and a cor­rupt rul­ing fam­i­ly drain­ing the pub­lic cof­fers-is a pow­der keg wait­ing to explode. To pre­vent being over­thrown, Sau­di rulers chan­nel mon­ey to vio­lent fun­da­men­tal­ists, includ­ing al Qai­da, via Islam­ic char­i­ties. Baer’s rad­i­cal solu­tion is guar­an­teed to stir debate and make many skit­tish: “An inva­sion and a rev­o­lu­tion might be the only things that can save the indus­tri­al West from a pro­longed, wrench­ing depres­sion.”

Robert Baer was a case offi­cer in the Direc­torate of Oper­a­tions for the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency from 1976 to 1997. His over­seas assign­ments includ­ed stints in loca­tions such as North­ern Iraq, Dushanbe, Rabat, Paris, Beirut, Khar­toum, New Del­hi, and else­where, han­dling agents that infil­trat­ed Hizbal­lah, PFLP-GC, PSF, Libyan intel­li­gence, Fatah-Hawari, and al Qae­da. Flu­ent in Ara­bic, Far­si, French, and Ger­man, he divides his time between Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and France.

THIS BOOK IS IN PRINT.
Avail­able com­mer­cial­ly. Learn more about Robert Baer [1].