A former senior Saudi intelligence official told Senate investigators that he “can’t defend the Crown Prince” Mohammed bin Salman and called him a “psychopath,” according to a transcript obtained by the New York Times.
The former official, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, is now a military spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen but told senators investigators in May that he traveled on intelligence reports from an internal intelligence office in 2012 to allegedly warn the CIA and British intelligence of the extent of the Saudi government’s involvement in al-Qaida attacks, the Times reported Saturday.
By then, U.S. intelligence officials were aware that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula had been plotting terrorist attacks on the United States and that the group was thought to have acquired chemical weapons in Yemen, according to the Times. But al-Turki told investigators that he thought they were overestimating the threat, since he knew of only one specific attempt to strike the United States, the Times reported.
He said that Saudi officials believed the U.S. government and Americans didn’t pay attention to threats in the kingdom and blamed it on the American intelligence services. Al-Turki was never assigned to lead an operations center, the Times reported. He has been accused of lying to American investigators about his travels to Yemen as a teenager, and he is currently in a Saudi prison.