Inside Jared Kushner's controversial journey to Riyadh: Classified intel, global affairs, and Saudi Arabia

Jun 05, 2023 05:11 AM IST

Jared Kushner's casual attitude towards the President's Daily Brief raised eyebrows, but his unexpected trip to Riyadh sparked intense speculation.

Jared Kushner, an infamous figure in political circles, had a reputation for his lackadaisical approach to the President's Daily Brief (PDB), an inconsequential report on mundane matters. Despite his disinterest, Kushner's sudden journey to Riyadh caused quite a stir, fueling wild speculations about his alleged wrongdoings and potential brushes with the law.

Jared Kushner's casual attitude towards the President's Daily Brief raised eyebrows, but his unexpected trip to Riyadh sparked intense speculation. (Twitter)
Jared Kushner's casual attitude towards the President's Daily Brief raised eyebrows, but his unexpected trip to Riyadh sparked intense speculation. (Twitter)

The voracious reader:

Jared Kushner's involvement with classified intelligence reports, such as the President's Daily Brief, garnered attention before his security clearance was revoked. Reports suggest his keen interest in various global affairs, with a notable focus on the evolving political landscape in Saudi Arabia.

The ousted crown prince:

In June, MBS orchestrated a power shift by ousting his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, and positioning himself as the next in line to the Saudi throne. Subsequent President's Daily Briefs contained names of royal family members opposed to MBS's ascent, creating a tumultuous environment within the kingdom.

The mysterious meeting:

In late October, Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching many off guard. Reports suggest that he engaged in lengthy discussions with MBS, with both princes said to be strategizing into the early hours. While the details of their conversation remain unknown, MBS claimed that Kushner shared the names of disloyal Saudis—a claim Kushner denies through his spokesperson.

The anti-corruption crackdown:

On November 4, just days after Kushner's return, MBS initiated an anti-corruption crackdown, resulting in the arrest of numerous members of the Saudi royal family. Individuals named in the President's Daily Brief were among those detained, with reports of torture and coerced asset transfers emerging from the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh.

Questions of authorization:

The disclosure of classified information from the President's Daily Brief requires presidential approval. If Kushner did share names with MBS as part of an approved tactic, it would indicate significant U.S. intervention in the internal power dynamics of an allied nation. However, if Kushner acted without proper authorization, he may have violated federal laws governing the sharing of classified intelligence.

Unconventional communications:

Kushner's unconventional communication methods have also come under scrutiny. Reports suggest that he communicated directly with MBS and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed using the secure messaging app WhatsApp. Concerns have been raised about potential conflicts of interest and the influence foreign officials may exert through Kushner's family real estate business.

Also Read | Saudi Arabia, Canada end 2018 human rights dispute; to restore ties

Qatar blockade and financial interests:

Kushner's support for the Saudi and Emirati blockade against Qatar raised suspicions of a conflict of interest. Kushner Companies had previously sought financing from Qatari sources for their troubled flagship property in New York. The timing of events surrounding the blockade has led to questions about whether Kushner's business interests influenced U.S. foreign policy decisions.

The complex network of associations among Kushner, MBS, and the Saudi royal family sparks inquiries regarding the satisfactory management of classified information, potential ethical conflicts, and the possibility of disregarding legal boundaries. The consequences of these engagements extend far beyond the realm of diplomacy, underscoring the imperative of openness and responsibility within upper echelons of governance.

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