Mohammed bin Nayef’s Remarkable Prescience about Obama’s Second Term Cabinet

Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu just resigned.

Which got me thinking about my latest obsession: the Technical Cooperation Agreement beween Saudi Arabia and the US, under which (as far as the agreement admits publicly) the US helps the Saudis protect their critical infrastructure (read, oil fields) and borders. While the TCA is managed by State, it includes significant involvement on the part of DOD — particularly CentCom, DOE (because in Saudi Arabia infrastructure is energy), and Treasury (which handles the magic bank account at its core). In addition, a new focus on cybersecurity (presumably a response to the recent Aramco hack) gives DHS and NSA an increasing role.

So check out the list of people MbN met with while he was in DC from January 14 to 16, in significant part to “renew” the TCA (four months before the old one expired).

Prince Mohammad also met with a number of senior U.S. officials throughout his visit, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Director of National Intelligence James Robert Clapper, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Robert Mueller, and Director of the National Security Agency General Keith B. Alexander.

Remarkably, MbN didn’t waste his time with any outgoing cabinet member — not TurboTax Timmeh, not Chu, not Panetta — except for Hillary, with whom he was signing this agreement. While TurboTax Timmeh and Panetta’s departure was known, Chu’s was only rumored.

John Brennan is moving, sure, but I suspect his move won’t change his interactions with MbN — who has been a key stovepipe for Brennan — one whit.
The most interesting person MbN managed to not waste his time with on the visit, apparently, was General James Mattis, who was about to be, but had not yet been, ousted several months early the week MbN was in town.

I’m not suggesting this is all that meaningful, mind you. I just find it notable that MbN seemed to have a better sense of what was going on with Obama’s top national security leadership than most of the journalists in DC.

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5 Responses to Mohammed bin Nayef’s Remarkable Prescience about Obama’s Second Term Cabinet

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @AlexLittleTN @joshgerstein Right. when the GJ started, I started asking about whether McCulloch would pull that. Sure enough, he did.
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bmaz @AlexLittleTN @joshgerstein By the way, you ready for Ferguson GJ clusterfuck? Its just ridiculous what is going on with McCulloch's charade
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bmaz RT @AlexLittleTN: @bmaz @joshgerstein @billingsgazette Really, really strong combo of back-to-back chief judges.
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bmaz @AlexLittleTN @joshgerstein @billingsgazette Yes indeed. And I think Thomas is the perfect guy to carry forward what Kozinski has started.
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bmaz @joshgerstein And an extremely bright one too. @billingsgazette
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bmaz RT @joshgerstein: Independent thinker RT @bmaz: Montana’s 9th Circuit Judge Sid Thomas to become next chief judge: http://t.co/UWomHdmerQ v…
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bmaz Sid Thomas is wonderful, and will make a fantastic Chief Judge. Still, I will miss Alex Kozinski. @joshgerstein @billingsgazette
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bmaz Montana’s 9th Circuit Judge Sid Thomas to become next chief judge: http://t.co/n37FGa0SEj via @billingsgazette
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bmaz RT @barrettmarson: If @BarackObama appoints @SenJohnMcCain to #SecDef then @dougducey can appoint @GovBrewer to the senate. #StartYourOwnRu
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emptywheel @MiekeEoyang Besides I think he'd be better off pursuing corrupt banks.
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