George Tenet again in high staff of US President
Reuters/Jeddah US security chiefs visited Saudi Arabia yesterday to convey President Barack Obama’s condolences for the death of Crown Prince Nayef, underscoring the importance of a relationship seen as key in the battle against Al Qaeda.
The delegation was led by Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and included Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Counter-terrorism John Brennan and former Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet.
Mike Morrell, the CIA’s deputy director, also joined the delegation which met Prince Salman, the new crown prince.
“The president wanted me ... to convey to you not only our sorrow for your loss but also our best wishes to you in your new position,” Panetta told Prince Salman at the Royal Court in Jeddah, where delegations from around the world were visiting.
Nayef, who was interior minister for 37 years, built up a formidable domestic security apparatus which crushed Al Qaeda inside the kingdom and has helped foil attempts by the militant group to attack international targets from its base in Yemen.
“He played a pivotal role in strengthening the relationship between the US and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Panetta said in a statement late on Tuesday.
King Abdullah on Monday named Prince Salman, defence minister, as his new heir.