Joe Rogan | The Morality of CIA Assassins w/Annie Jacobsen

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the Joe Rogan experience morality talk
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to me about morality or talk about why
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we can’t talk about certain things well
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while we’re what you were saying before
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about being a competitor the United
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States is competitive obviously and when
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you’re playing the ultimate game which
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is war you have to be very careful about
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what you reveal and what you don’t
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reveal and this is where the
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conversation about surprise kill vanish
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comes in because the CIA using these
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covert operations to assassinate people
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and whether or not that should be
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allowed or not allowed whether it’s good
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or bad whether it’s necessary whether
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it’s like if you want people to be safe
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over here there’s certain people you got
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to take out and sometimes you just can’t
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follow the rules and why why are we not
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supposed to know about that should we
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know about that the way the story
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started for me I’m at my house in 2009 a
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source is you know calls me up he says
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I’m on my way back from the Middle East
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gonna pop by the house and say hi he
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brings me a challenge coin that says
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Kabul Afghanistan State Department I’m
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thinking okay he is not a diplomat I
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mean he’s weapons trained at the time my
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boys were young there are lots of GI
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Joes in the garden and they had little
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weapons right and the source is showing
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them about the weapons and they’re like
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so into it cuz they know he’s military
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trained and then he says if it’s okay
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with your mom and dad I’ll show you some
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weapons the boys are like please so he
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sets up this sniper rifle in the living
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room and I live up in the hills and you
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can look across the canyon through this
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scope he set up and I can see the veins
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on a leaf
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across the canyon and I thought okay so
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now I know what he was doing in Kabul
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Afghanistan he’s taking out al Qaeda
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with this mm-hmm
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there’s another case on the ground that
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he never opens and when the boys go off
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I say to him what’s in that and he said
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he opens it up and inside there’s a
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knife and it’s serrated and I said
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what’s that for
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immediately realizing you know my
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naivete and he says to me sometimes a
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job requires quiet so why that became
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interesting
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to me was because of my own thoughts and
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perceptions about what he had told me in
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other words I could I could deal with
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him with a sniper rifle
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I could me like okay that’s what he does
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but the knife gave me pause I was like
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is he slitting someone’s throat is it in
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the ribs and I thought why is it that I
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am willing to accept sort of the
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clinical nature of of a sniper rifle but
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I can’t I’m uncomfortable with that
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close-up hand-to-hand killing and that
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led me to surprise kill vanish because
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that was the motto of the precursor
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agency of the CIA it was called the OSS
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the Office of Strategic Services their
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motto was surprise kill vanish because
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they would jump out of aircraft land
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work with their French partners and kill
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Nazis with a you know a knife to the
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throat and I thought okay that’s
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considered okay because they were Nazis
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right but we can’t we’re not supposed to
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do that anymore
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in this world we live in why and I spent
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the whole this whole book researching
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and reporting is about that sort of
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conundrum if you will that moral puzzle
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you know why do we why do we
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differentiate you know and who are they
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willing to do that to where do they draw
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that line like I’m sure you’re aware of
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the story of Jamal khashoggi the
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journalist who was assassinated by
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someone some group of people and that
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they entered into the Turkish embassy
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and they whacked him and chopped him up
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and carried him out in boxes and it’s an
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international it was a huge incident
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right this supposedly was ordered by who
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was it supposed to order by the head of
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Saudi Arabia yeah MBS Mohammed bin
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Salman I mean that’s the idea is that
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their head of state wanted him killed
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because he was a threat because he was a
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reporter because he’s writing some
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things yeah and that they this is how
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they did it yeah I mean and there’s
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that’s a great question because what
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yours
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like okay so but we all think of that as
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reprehensible right right right
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why you know cuz cuz he’s a journalist
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on our side he’s delivering information
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to people but the government of Saudi
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Arabia disagree they like that
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information is our information he’s a
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threat by releasing it yes he’s a threat
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to our livelihood yes yeah and who
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decides who’s a threat I mean a lot of
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this book is about who’s on the kill
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list right I mean there is an actual
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killers they’re always husband and the
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euphemisms involved I mean I write
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history as I said so Eisenhower called
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his assassination program health
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alteration
I mean literally in the
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declassified documents the Solaris
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health all three she had a health
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alteration committee whoa Kennedy had an
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executive action committee that’s also
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cleaner all right
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guess what Reagan’s was called super
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Wonder Boy power up close pre-emptive
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neutralization preemptive neutralization
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Wow why do they keep switching the names
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for it they’re burying the information
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right and they keep switching around the
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they switch around who has authority to
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you know say yes let’s go ahead and put
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this guy on the kill list I mean that
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was fascinating I mean I interviewed a
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guy named John Rizzo who was a
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decades-long CIA attorney I was stunned
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that he was willing to talk to me and he
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explained to me how a presidential
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finding also called a memorandum of
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notification works that gives the
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president the authority to put an
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individual on the kill list that job is
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then given to the CIA’s paramilitary
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army an operator or their assassins
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because the CIA works under a code
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called title 50 of so it makes it legal
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whereas the Defense Department works
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under what’s called title 10 so in other
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words and they can’t their rules of
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engagement are totally different so the
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misnomer is like oh the SEALs killed bin
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Laden well they were seals trained but
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that was a CIA mission
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hmm because Pakistan is a sovereign
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nation and the military can’t kill
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people in countries were not at war with
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so those guys all became essentially CIA
operators for the night whoa right and
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if you look at photographs as I have
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seen you’ll notice that they have no
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markings on their outfits so that if the
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job went south it’d be like I don’t know
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who these guys are and if you look back
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at Vietnam photos of the Mac V SOG teams
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which I also write about in surprise
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kill vanish because that’s the precursor
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of that you see no markings right that
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way you can go into you can go behind
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enemy lines you can go into Laos you
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know in the Vietnam War you can go now
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you can go into Pakistan what I learned
reporting this book is we’re in a
hundred and thirty four countries doing
title 50 operations think about that
government wants that to be kept secret
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so in all those countries they’re doing
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things that don’t fall under the normal
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letter of the law not yes not under the
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rules of engagement of the military but
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the CIA works at the president’s behest
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that that was one thing that really blew
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my mind to report to research to
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understand
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I talked to forty two guys who have
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direct access to this who are in this
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world you know from the knuckle draggers
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on the ground as they call themselves to
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the lawyer at CIA senior intelligence
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staff that’s the equivalent of a general
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at the CIA
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those guys explaining to me Annie this
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is how it works you know and again to
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your question well why why does someone
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get to know that and why does the
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government want why do they allow that
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information out is super interesting and
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I believe that has to do with a certain
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climate we’re in right now about
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military might right in other words what
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the CIA does is called tercio up do it’s
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the third option you’ve got the first
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option is diplomacy second option is war
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so if diplomacy is not working
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and war is unwise you go to the third
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option which is the CIA’s paramilitary
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and they’re in a hundred and how many
country 134 do you well if you wonder
why the military budgets so big that’s
what it is folks kind of feed those
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folks what work I mean what happened and
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you as a competitor would be fascinated
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by the kind of training they do and what
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they do I mean so many of these
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infiltration techniques are
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mind-boggling you know they’ve got halo
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jumping which you know about right where
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they high altitude low opening so they
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jump out they you know freefall down
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terminal velocity pull the ripcord
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really low so they’re not detected by
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radar and then they meet up with a team
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on the ground and go do what they do
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then they also have hey-ho which is high
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altitude high opening and that way you
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can fly over airspace where we’re
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allowed and float into let’s say a
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country like Iran and land gather your
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team and do what you have to do hmm but
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like so much of what I report I get
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information like that and then I ask a
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million questions like you’ve asking me
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and it’s like can’t talk about that
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that’s classified hmm you don’t you
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you’re a journalist so you’re trying not
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to judge mm-hmm but is it your belief
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that this is a good thing for America
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meaning having a third option
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whoa I mean I write in the book that
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that’s in the prologue after I tell that
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story about the source with a knife I
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say I wanted to know in that exact
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question like is this a good thing and
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my answer at the end after it’s complex
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not to be vague but it is really complex
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is also that well if you’re gonna take
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that pole position you must accept
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rivalry right mm-hmm and also after talk
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do I think it’s a good thing after
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talking to a lot of 20-year old soldiers
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who come back from the war theater miss
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limb with intense PTSD and who
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essentially serve as cannon fodder I
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would say my opinion right for the
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Pentagon that’s the second option or the
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42 guys that I interviewed you know
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they’re like send me they are a
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professional they are Tier one operators
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they’re Green Berets they’re seals their
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Delta they retire they join the CIA yeah
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so they’re like professionals at what
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they do
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and they’re saying I want someone has to
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do this job we’ve been doing this since
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the end of World War two I want to do it
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so do I think it’s better I mean I think
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that that concept speaks to choice right
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because I’m not so sure that the 20 year
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olds know what they’re in for
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and the 40 year olds know what they’re
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in for and are willing to do it so that
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well also the difference between a
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specialized trained individual with a
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very specific task versus someone who is
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sort of following orders and at the
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front of the line yeah right I mean and
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also has a you know a lot of times I
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talk to these young kids who go to war
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and they tell me one of the fascinating
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detail is that they talk about movies
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that they see and whether it’s Saving
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Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down even
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right where the outcome is not
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necessarily great but they talk about
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the romanticization of war and of
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camaraderie and a brotherhood that comes
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from that and then they have their
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experience and some of that does give
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them that sense but not always whereas
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the operators are much more about you
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know getting the job done that’s what I
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was fascinated by I mean these guys are
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really clear they’re their competitors
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they’re like top tier competitors they
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have a job they do it they get it done
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and they ask for the next job so is the
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oversight when it comes to choosing
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whether or not this operation takes
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place or not is it
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do they have moral guidelines do they
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have ethical or moral guidelines where
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they say like this is the president is
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requesting that this person get taken
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out the Chiefs of Staff whoever it is is
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that did they have to make a an ethical
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distinction you mean or they like kill
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him nicely like don’t make it over this
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do they decide like does this make sense
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or like what if the president is like
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Rosie O’Donnell she’s been talking shit
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take her out you know
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well I mean that’s you know that’s a big
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issue but what I try to write in some
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what I try to report in surprise kill
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vanish is the idea that the people we
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take out may be our bad guys right one
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one guy write about his che guevara okay
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because che is often portrayed in the
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press as you know this amazing hero and
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that he and we you know I don’t know if
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you know but he was he was killed by the
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Bolivian Rangers but it was a CIA
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operation and I interview the man in
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charge of that operation in Surprise Cal
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vanished his name was Felix Rodriguez ok
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long-serving CIA paramilitary officer so
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but I also report why the President to
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your question wanted Che Guevara dead
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you know he was really advocating for
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nuclear war and I and I shared it yes I
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mean he spoke publicly about you know if
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if we have to have an atomic war the
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Cuban but paraphrasing the Cuban people
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will be happy to have sacrificed
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themselves that I mean che was also che
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killed anyone who betrayed him he killed
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he writes about it in his Diaries as I
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write in the book right so but on the
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morality question who decides I don’t
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have that answer but I will tell you
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what I did I went with my main source
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Billy hua who he’s a 89 now and he was
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he’s been with the CIA for 60 years
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okay I mean he went and he and I went to
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Cuba for him to do a halo jump with Che
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Guevara son so we were a guest of the
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man whose father was killed by the CIA
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okay and we had this really interesting
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discussion in the cigar club where che
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and Castro you know smoke cigars and
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plotted the downfall of the United
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States and that’s what I try to give
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readers a sense of the long lens of
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history how time changes all things and
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maybe leave with them them with this
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idea which they can come to their own
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conclusions about what you asked me of
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is it right or is it wrong because
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really what you might ask is is it
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necessary mmm right I mean I could
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moralize right wrong but it would just
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be my opinion but when you see I went
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Billy wall and I also try out travel to
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Vietnam because he was supposed to kill
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he was tasked to kill the top commander
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of the North Vietnamese Army a guy named
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general shop and law didn’t kill shop
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and we had this incredibly this terrible
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mission that went awry that I write
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about in the book in the Vietnam War so
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50 years later while and I go to visit
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the son of general giap are sitting
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there in shops home talking about these
16:49
same issues right and my conclusion of
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that again is not is it right or wrong
16:55
but is it necessary I mean we have these
16:58
wars we keep having these wars is it
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necessary yeah what do you think well I
17:07
mean my opinion is that the Defense
17:11
Department is far too concerned with
17:14
vast weapons systems of the future which
17:17
is its mission statement of its science
17:19
department and so you create what some
17:22
at the Pentagon call a self licking ice
17:24
cream cone or the military-industrial
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complex and there’s a lot built into
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that there’s a lot to be said about
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[Applause]

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s phone ‘hacked by Saudi crown prince’

Exclusive: investigation suggests Washington Post owner was targeted five months before murder of Jamal Khashoggi

The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.

The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.

This analysis found it “highly probable” that the intrusion into the phone was triggered by an infected video file sent from the account of the Saudi heir to Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.

The two men had been having a seemingly friendly WhatsApp exchange when, on 1 May of that year, the unsolicited file was sent, according to sources who spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity.

Large amounts of data were exfiltrated from Bezos’s phone within hours, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Guardian has no knowledge of what was taken from the phone or how it was used.

The extraordinary revelation that the future king of Saudi Arabia may have had a personal involvement in the targeting of the American founder of Amazon will send shockwaves from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

It could also undermine efforts by “MBS” – as the crown prince is known – to lure more western investors to Saudi Arabia, where he has vowed to economically transform the kingdom even as he has overseen a crackdown on his critics and rivals.

The disclosure is likely to raise difficult questions for the kingdom about the circumstances around how US tabloid the National Enquirer came to publish intimate details about Bezos’s private life – including text messages – nine months later.

It may also lead to renewed scrutiny about what the crown prince and his inner circle were doing in the months prior to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who was killed in October 2018 – five months after the alleged “hack” of the newspaper’s owner.

Mohammed bin Salman
 Mohammed bin Salman. One observer said the alleged targeting of Bezos reflected the ‘personality-based’ environment in which the crown prince operates. Photograph: Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi royal court/EPA

Saudi Arabia has previously denied it targeted Bezos’s phone, and has insisted the murder of Khashoggi was the result of a “rogue operation”. In December, a Saudi court convicted eight people of involvement in the murder after a secret trial that was criticised as a sham by human rights experts.

Digital forensic experts started examining Bezos’s phone following the publication last January by the National Enquirer of intimate details about his private life.

The story, which included his involvement in an extramarital relationship, set off a race by his security team to uncover how the CEO’s private texts were obtained by the supermarket tabloid, which was owned by American Media Inc (AMI).

While AMI insisted it was tipped off about the affair by the estranged brother of Bezos’s girlfriend, the investigation by the billionaire’s own team found with “high confidence” that the Saudis had managed to “access” Bezos’s phone and had “gained private information” about him.

Bezos’s head of security, Gavin de Beckerwrote in the Daily Beast last March he had provided details of his investigation to law enforcement officials, but did not publicly reveal any information on how the Saudis accessed the phone.

He also described “the close relationship” the Saudi crown prince had developed with David Pecker, the chief executive of the company that owned the Enquirer, in the months before the Bezos story was published. De Becker did not respond to calls and messages from the Guardian.

The Guardian understands a forensic analysis of Bezos’s phone, and the indications that the “hack” began within an infected file from the crown prince’s account, has been reviewed by Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur who investigates extrajudicial killings. It is understood that it is considered credible enough for investigators to be considering a formal approach to Saudi Arabia to ask for an explanation.

Callamard, whose own investigation into the murder of Khashoggi found “credible evidence” the crown prince and other senior Saudi officials were responsible for the killing, confirmed to the Guardian she was still pursuing “several leads” into the murder, but declined to comment on the alleged Bezos link.

When asked by the Guardian whether she would challenge Saudi Arabia about the new “hacking” allegation, Callamard said she followed all UN protocols that require investigators to alert governments about forthcoming public allegations.

Saudi experts – dissidents and analysts – told the Guardian they believed Bezos was probably targeted because of his ownership of the Post and its coverage of Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi’s critical columns about Mohammed bin Salman and his campaign of repression against activists and intellectuals rankled the crown prince and his inner circle.

Andrew Miller, a Middle East expert who served on the national security council under President Obama, said if Bezos had been targeted by the crown prince, it reflected the “personality-based” environment in which the crown prince operates.

“He probably believed that if he got something on Bezos it could shape coverage of Saudi Arabia in the Post. It is clear that the Saudis have no real boundaries or limits in terms of what they are prepared to do in order to protect and advance MBS, whether it is going after the head of one of the largest companies in the world or a dissident who is on their own.”

The possibility that the head of one of America’s leading companies was targeted by Saudi Arabia could pose a dilemma for the White House.

Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have maintained close ties with the crown prince despite a US intelligence finding – reportedly with a medium–to–high degree of certainty – that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

Both Saudi Arabia and AMI have denied that the kingdom was involved in the publication of the Bezos story.

A lawyer for Bezos who was contacted by the Guardian said: “I have no comment on this except to say that Mr Bezos is cooperating with investigations.”

The Guardian asked the Saudi embassy in Washington about the claims. It did not immediately return a request for comment.

Have you got new information about this story? You can message Guardian investigations using Signal or WhatsApp: +447584640566. For the most secure communications, use SecureDrop. You can also email: stephanie.kirchgaessner@theguardian.com.

‘Seven whistleblowers’

And a story that — if true — could be deadly for Jared Kushner

Seven Brides for Seven BrothersThe Magnificent SevenSeven SamuraiThe Seven Year ItchSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Hollywood loves stories and film titles with seven in them. So how about Seven Whistleblowers? It has a nice ring to it. Because a source tells Cockburn that House Democrats trying to impeach Donald Trump have no less than seven intelligence whistleblowers willing to give evidence, or who have already given evidence, about President Trump’s dealings with foreign governments.

Some we know about already. There’s the original whistleblower, the CIA officer at the White House who first reported Trump’s call to the Ukrainian president. Republicans are now pushing to ‘unmask’ him, though his name is already all over the internet. He is, supposedly, a 33-year-old graduate of Yale, a registered Democrat who had worked for both Joe Biden and John Brennan. These facts, so helpful to the White House, are in a ‘dossier’ circulated on Capitol Hill by the president’s allies. A second Ukraine whistleblower has come forward. We know this because the lawyer for the first whistleblower, Mark Zaid, told ABC News that he was representing a second. In fact, Zaid’s co-counsel said that they were representing ‘multiple’ whistleblowers. Two? More than two? Seven?

Cockburn wondered if one of the whistleblowers could possibly be Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the senior Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, who came to the US from Ukraine — to Little Odessa in Brooklyn — as a child aged three. He arrived to give evidence to the House Intelligence Committee wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military ribbons. He said that the White House transcript of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president had important gaps — and that his attempts to include ‘crucial words and phrases’ had been rebuffed. ‘I am a patriot and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.’

Or perhaps Tim Morrison, the NSC’s director for European and Russian Affairs, who was one of the small group to have listened to the call. He told the committee that Trump’s ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, had said Ukraine wouldn’t get US arms unless it investigated Biden. But the British Daily Mail has pointed out that both officials testified under subpoena and so — Lord Rothermere’s organ states, correctly — neither is legally a whistleblower.

However many Ukraine whistleblowers there may or may not be, Cockburn’s source says that at least one of the (purported) seven has nothing to do with Ukraine at all. Instead, it’s claimed that this whistleblower reported a call between Trump and the Saudi ruler, Mohammed bin Salman. He or she is said to have had ‘concerns’ about what was said on the call about the president’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. Kushner himself is known to have a very close relationship with MBS. Cockburn has previously written that Kushner may have been what Cosmo would call an ‘oversharer’ when it came to MBS. Unfortunately, it’s claimed that what he was sharing was American secrets: information Kushner had requested from the CIA would (allegedly) be echoed back in US intercepts of calls between members of the Saudi royal family. One source said this was why Kushner lost his intelligence clearances for a while.

According to Cockburn’s source about the seven whistleblowers, there’s more. It is that Kushner (allegedly) gave the green light to MBS to arrest the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was later murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A second source tells Cockburn that this is true and adds a crucial twist to the story. This source claims that Turkish intelligence obtained an intercept of the call between Kushner and MBS. And President Erdogan used it to get Trump to roll over and pull American troops out of northern Syria before the Turks invaded. A White House official has told the Daily Mail that this story is ‘false nonsense’. However, Cockburn hears that investigators for the House Intelligence Committee are looking into it. Who knows whether any of this is true…but Adam Schiff certainly seems to be smiling a lot these days.

Jared Kushner’s Secret Meeting

Jared Kushner attends a secret meeting in Saudia Arabia with MBS that could benefit him and the Trumps.  This is how Trump deals with the man responsible for killing and dismembering Jamal Koshoggi.

The Republicans have said to ban all Muslims because they are a national security risk, but are fine with giving Saudi Arabia nuclear reactors.

Jared and the Saudi Crown Prince Go Nuclear?

There are too many unanswered questions about the White House’s role in advancing Saudi ambitions.

Jared Kushner slipped quietly into Saudi Arabia this week for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, so the question I’m trying to get the White House to answer is this: Did they discuss American help for a Saudi nuclear program?

Of all the harebrained and unscrupulous dealings of the Trump administration in the last two years, one of the most shocking is a Trump plan to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

Even as President Trump is trying to denuclearize North Korea and Iran, he may be helping to nuclearize Saudi Arabia. This is abominable policy tainted by a gargantuan conflict of interest involving Kushner.

Kushner’s family real estate business had been teetering because of a disastrously overpriced acquisition he made of a particular Manhattan property called 666 Fifth Avenue, but last August a company called Brookfield Asset Management rescued the Kushners by taking a 99-year lease of the troubled property — and paying the whole sum of about $1.1 billion up front.

Alarm bells should go off: Brookfield also owns Westinghouse Electric, the nuclear services business trying to sell reactors to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi swamp, meet American swamp.

It may be conflicts like these, along with even murkier ones, that led American intelligence officials to refuse a top-secret security clearance for Kushner. The Times reported Thursday that Trump overruled them to grant Kushner the clearance.

This nuclear reactor mess began around the time of Trump’s election, when a group of retired U.S. national security officials put together a plan to enrich themselves by selling nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia. The officials included Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, and they initially developed a “plan for 40 nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia, according to a report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The plan is now to start with just a couple of plants.

As recently as Feb. 12, Trump met in the White House with backers of the project and was supportive, Reuters reported.

No one knows whether Prince Muhammed will manage to succeed his father and become the next king, for there is opposition and the Saudi economic transformation he boasts of is running into difficulties.

Trump and Kushner seem to be irresponsibly trying to boost the prince’s prospects, increasing the risk that an unstable hothead will mismanage the kingdom for the next 50 years. Perhaps with nuclear weapons.