James Mattis

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.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Hiding Yahoos: ORCON and the FISC Special Advocate http://t.co/Ce4RmQDc0Z
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bmaz @JustADCohen Graves is successor. It will never end.
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bmaz @JustADCohen I worked on a piece of Hart v Hill when I first started as a lawyer. That was nearly 30 yrs ago and case was already 10 yrs old
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bmaz If true RT @JGreenDC Whoa @imillhiser @TPM
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bmaz Wherein @ScottGreenfield takes a sartorial, yet unquestionably positive, look at @DavidLat's book "Supreme Ambitions" http://t.co/dXJiOaG5JS
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emptywheel RT @ggreenwald: From Bagram & Gitmo to UK, War on Terror critic @Moazzam_Begg has spent 3.5 years in detention- convicted of nothing https:…
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emptywheel Congratulations to Roger Goodell, who lasted long enough to start slathering over NFL's treatment of domestic abuse with pink ribbons.
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emptywheel Proposed bill: Declare foreverwar that'll indefinitely place Const & any ability to fund domestic progs on hold http://t.co/ZoL27MW2V0
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bmaz Interesting take by @jacklgoldsmith on Koh's defense of Obama Forever War. All now agree protecting war more impt than prtcting Constitution
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bmaz RT @ddayen: FHA rules allow lenders to buy defaulted loans and flip them, gaining $428 million on the sale in 2013 http://t.co/zPcDSXTbXV
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emptywheel @VindalooTitan If they altered taxation, tho, it would make these trade-offs visible. It'd end the fiction of the free war. @DavidCUnger
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bmaz @anneapplebaum @BradMossEsq If only the FSB, IRGC, ISIS etc were one quarter the threat that warmonger security shills claim they are.
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