When Mohammed al-Khilewi, a high-ranking official at the Saudi mission to the
United Nations, defected to the United States in 1994, he reportedly brought
with him fourteen thousand internal government documents. He claimed that these
documents proved the Saudi royal family's corruption, human rights abuses, and
financial and technical support for terrorist groups such as Hamas, an
anti-Israeli group based in Lebanon, and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. Al-Khilewi
and his lawyer met with two FBI agents and an assistant United States attorney.
"We gave them a sampling of the documents and put them on the table," Michael J.
Wildes, al-Khilewi's lawyer, said. "But the agents refused to accept them"
(Hersh). Al-Khilewi was granted political asylum and never heard from the
American government again. He, his wife, and their three children still live in
constant fear of reprisals from the long arm of Saudi intelligence. He now wears
a bulletproof vest and is constantly bracketed by bodyguards and lives under a
This is an example of the growing American tolerance for Saudi government
transgressions. Saudi princes "squander billions of dollars [from the Saudi
coffers] on palaces in Spain and at gaming tables in Monaco"(Cockburn) while the
Saudi people suffer severe unemployment and inadequate education, a major issue
in a nation in which 50 percent of the population is still in school. Religious
dissidents are dealt with brutally and quickly in Saudi Arabia by the
mutawwa'in&emdash;religious police&emdash;and Saudi women are kept as secluded and
unprivileged as those in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. For years Saudi oil
money has been funneled into terrorist groups, which have, in turn, used those
funds to help attack the United States.
The corruption of the Saud family has been well known since they came to power
in 1932. It was minimal while the founder of the royal Saud family, King Abdul