Jeff Stein of Newsweek has reported that “a well-placed intelligence source” has confirmed that Saudi Arabia purchased Chinese-made DF-21 ballistic missiles in 2007 — apparently with the approval of the George W. Bush administration.
It’s the first intelligence source to confirm, albeit anonymously, something that’s long been rumored. It is a good bit of reporting — and I say this not simply because Stein quotes me. If Saudi Arabia bought the missiles in 2007, it has taken a long time for a reporter to get a source to actually confirm the suspected sale. But the timing of the leak isn’t surprising. Saudi Arabia is growing increasingly concerned about Iran, and over the past few years it has started talking a lot about its Strategic Missile Force. In the course of doing so, Riyadh has hinted that it has bought at least two new types of ballistic missiles — one of which is possibly the medium-range DF-21, which, in China, comes in both conventional and nuclear flavors.
More from Foreign Policy: Why Did Saudi Arabia Buy Chinese Missiles?
Thanks so much for the follow up on Jeff Stein’s piece!
On a cold day in early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch. The men put the boxes in a van and weaved through the Polish capital until coming to the headquarters of Polish intelligence. They were met by Col. Andrzej Derlatka, deputy chief of the intelligence service, and two of his associates.
An insightful quote from the former host of “Erotica Night” at a Baltimore bookstore, and the woman who will be the first-ever female number two official at the CIA. (Yup, Avril Haines is an Anne Rice fan.)
This being “Sunshine Week”—a nationwide effort by public-interest groups to promote greater access to government information—President Obama took the occasion to once again officially proclaim his commitment to an “unmatched level of transparency” throughout his administration.
But somehow they never got the memo at the CIA.
Responding today to a longstanding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the ACLU, the CIA released a stack of internal documents about the treatment of terrorist detainees.
One of the documents is especially revealing, although perhaps not in the way the spymasters at Langley intended. It’s a copy of a letter that was sent by three members of Congress to President Bush and then was routed to the CIA for a response nearly three years ago.
The only problem?
The CIA, in replying to the FOIA request, blacked out one crucial paragraph as too sensitive to disclose—even though the whole letter was publicly released by the congressmen at the time and is still publicly accessible (in its entirety) on the Web site of one of the congressmen, Democratic Rep. Ed Markey.
In just the last few days, virtually unnoticed by most of the news media, Obama administration officials have:
*Rejected a new Freedom of Information request for White House visitor logs (despite their announced intention to start making such documents public).
*Appealed, yet again, to invoke “state secrets” to block a lawsuit that might shed light on the CIA’s extraordinary rendition of terror suspects to countries that practice torture.
*Gotten Congress to pass legislation that would prevent graphic photographs of detainee abuse by the U.S. government from ever becoming public.
And all of this is in spite of Obama’s vow—in a memo on the first full day of his presidency—to create “an unprecedented level of openness” in government.