US alarmed as Saudi lawsuits threaten to expose secrets

3 weeks ago 28

RIYADH: Two lawsuits pitting Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler against a erstwhile quality czar endanger to exposure highly delicate US authorities secrets, prompting Washington to see a uncommon judicial intervention, documents show.

The cases successful US and Canadian courts centre connected corruption allegations levelled by state-owned Saudi companies against Saad Aljabri, a erstwhile spymaster who agelong worked intimately with American officials connected covert counterterrorism operations.

That marks the latest twist successful a long-running feud betwixt Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Aljabri.

Aljabri's patron, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN), is presently successful Saudi detention aft being deposed arsenic heir to the throne successful a 2017 palace coup.

The ineligible play sheds airy connected Shakespearean rivalries successful the apical echelons of the Saudi royal family, but Washington fears that a bitter courtroom showdown risks exposing delicate accusation related to its covert operations.

A uncommon US Justice Department filing successful a Massachusetts tribunal successful April noted Aljabri's volition to "describe accusation concerning alleged nationalist information activities".

"The (US) authorities is considering whether and however to enactment successful this action, including if indispensable and applicable, done an assertion of due governmental privileges," the filing said, without elaborating.

In a 2nd filing a period later, the Justice Department asked the tribunal for much clip arsenic nationalist information matters necessitate "'delicate' and 'complex' judgements by elder officials".

The filing said the authorities was prepared to "provide further information" to the tribunal successful secret.

Legal experts person said Washington could invoke the "state secrets privilege", which would let it to defy a court-ordered disclosure of accusation deemed harmful to US nationalist security.

The CIA declined to remark to AFP. The Justice Department, which experts accidental lone seldom intervenes successful civilian lawsuits, did not respond to a petition for comment.

"VENDETTA"

Last year, Aljabri alleged successful different suit that MBS sent "Tiger Squad" assassins to termination him successful Canada, wherever helium lives successful exile, portion detaining 2 of his children to unit him to instrumentality home.

The feud took a caller crook this March erstwhile state-run institution Sakab Saudi Holding accused Aljabri of embezzling US$3.47 cardinal portion moving astatine the Ministry of Interior nether MBN. It urged the Massachusetts tribunal to frost his US$29 cardinal Boston spot assets.

This came weeks aft aggregate state-owned companies sued Aljabri successful Toronto connected akin allegations. A Canadian tribunal subsequently announced a worldwide frost of Aljabri's assets.

While denying immoderate fiscal wrongdoing, Aljabri's ineligible squad says helium is caught successful the rivalry betwixt MBS and MBN, who has not been publically seen since his detention successful March 2020.

State-run Sakab, which tribunal filings accidental was established successful 2008 by MBN, was portion of a web of beforehand companies to supply screen for clandestine information operations with the United States.

In bid to beryllium his innocence, the tribunal would request to probe Sakab's finances, including however they were utilized to "finance delicate programs" operated successful concern with the CIA, the US National Security Agency and the US Defense Department, said a filing by Aljabri.

"Dr Saad would ne'er exposure covert counterterrorism projects that saved thousands of lives, including Americans," a root adjacent to the erstwhile spymaster told AFP.

"Unfortunately, MBS's unsighted vendetta against Dr Saad has cornered him successful a presumption wherever helium is compelled to bash truthful successful bid to support himself successful court."

"ENDANGER LIVES"

While the Justice Department considers moves to forestall immoderate disclosure of authorities secrets successful Massachusetts, it remains unclear however it could bash the aforesaid successful the Ontario court, implicit which it has nary nonstop sway.

The Aljabri root acknowledged immoderate vulnerability could endanger "those who participated successful (counterterrorism) operations, uncover sources and methods, and hinder ... akin operations successful the future".

A US lawyer representing MBS declined to remark connected the litigation.

But a root adjacent to the Saudi enactment repeated multi-billion dollar corruption allegations, portion accusing Aljabri of "poisoning the Saudi-US relationship".

Several US officials who person worked alongside Aljabri person voiced enactment for him, with immoderate acknowledging that helium was privy to delicate information.

"Dr Saad worked straight with astatine slightest the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, White House, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury," erstwhile CIA authoritative Philip Mudd wrote successful a US tribunal affidavit.

"When the United States had actionable quality oregon tactical information, we gave it to Dr Saad."

In its April filing, the Justice Department said it anticipated engaging with some sides to recognize their positions, suggesting it was keen for an out-of-court settlement.

"The much important happening for maine is that MBS is holding Dr Saad's kids, fundamentally extorting Dr Saad," Daniel Hoffman, a erstwhile manager of the CIA's Middle East division, told AFP.

"That's precise overmuch against the humanitarian values of the United States."

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