The US State Department said in a letter that it has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia to “clarify the status and nature” of the detention of two children of a former senior intelligence official. Saudi exiled to Canada who alleged that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) wants to assassinate him.
The State Department letter came in response to a letter sent by four US senators last month, calling on President Donald Trump to help free the detained children of Saad al-Jabri, who has worked closely with the states. -United.
“For years, Dr Aljabri has been the counterpart of the United States Embassy in Riyadh for joint counterterrorism efforts and has responded to threats against our mission and staff around the clock,” he said. said Acting Deputy Secretary of the Office of Legislative Affairs Ryan M Kaldahl.
He said the United States appreciates Al-Jabri’s “contributions to the protection of our citizens” and “the lack of sufficient and compelling justification” will continue to advocate for the welfare of Al-Jabri’s children.
The joint letter – sent last month by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy, Tim Kaine and Chris Van Hollen – said the Saudi royal family was holding the children of Saad al-Jabri, Sarah and Omar as leverage to force his return. to the kingdom.
The two adult children and a brother of Saad al-Jabri, who is believed to hold key state secrets, were detained in Riyadh in March.
Al-Jabri had previously tried to get his children out of Saudi Arabia, but authorities had banned them from traveling, according to reports.
The former spy filed a complaint [PDF] Thursday, in a US federal court, which accused MBS of sending people to track him to the United States and of sending a strike team to kill him in Canada. The latter plot was foiled because the successful team, called “the Tiger Squad”, was denied entry to Canada, according to court documents.
The lawsuit alleges that MBS has been trying to kill al-Jabri for three years, that “the accused bin Salman continues his extrajudicial homicide attempt to this day” and that MBS obtained “a decision from religious authorities approving the murder of Dr Saad [Al-Jabri] ».
The Saudi royal family is holding Sarah and Omar Aljabri hostage. The taking of hostages is never justified. For a government to use such tactics is odious. They should be released immediately. https://t.co/wqr22IEX1S pic.twitter.com/VdCpp0NZxV
– Senator Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) July 9, 2020
He further alleges that “al-Jabri’s close ties to the US intelligence community are an obstacle to consolidating the influence and power of the defendant bin Salman among US government officials”, and calls for a jury trial. in the USA.
Kaldahl’s letter said he was concerned about any “alleged activity” that led al-Jabri to exile in Canada and said that charges of wrongdoing on his part should be dealt with through legal channels.
Saudi Arabia, which issued Interpol red notices calling for al-Jabri’s return that have since been rejected as political, urged other countries to return al-Jabri to the kingdom, accusing the former officer higher corruption intelligence.
Al-Jabri has had access to the highest levels of information for decades as an intelligence officer working closely with his American counterparts.
The four US senators who sought to help him wrote last month: “As a senior intelligence official in Saudi Arabia, Dr Al-Jabri has been credited by former CIA officials for saving thousands. of American lives by uncovering and preventing terrorist plots. ”
They said the United States has a “moral obligation to do what it can to help secure the freedom of its children.”
The State Department’s response said that the US-Saudi partnership “allows us to engage in frank discussions in areas where we disagree” and that in coordination with the White House and other US government agencies, he would “continue to engage his Saudi counterparts to resolve this situation in a way that honors Dr Aljabri’s service to our country”.