(JTA) — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may be using his close relationship with White House adviser Jared Kushner to send a message to his allies and enemies that his actions were backed by the U.S. government, a U.S. government official told The Intercept.
A week after Kushner and the crown prince met in Riyadh, Mohammed began what he called an “anti-corruption crackdown.” The Saudi government arrested and jailed dozens of members of the Saudi royal family in a Riyadh hotel – among them Saudi figures named in a daily classified brief read by the president and his closest advisers that Kushner read avidly before he lost his top-secret security clearance in February, The Intercept reported Thursday.
According to the report, Mohammed told confidants that he and Kushner discussed Saudis identified in the classified brief as disloyal to Mohammed. While it is likely that Prince Mohammed could independently learn who were his critics, he may have wanted to let it be known that Kushner shared that information with him in order to show his close relationship with the United States, the unnamed U.S. official said.
If Kushner discussed the names with the Saudi prince without presidential authorization, he may have violated federal laws around the sharing of classified intelligence, according to the Intercept.
The Saudi crown prince bragged to the United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and others that he had Kushner “in his pocket,” an unnamed source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers told The Intercept.
Saudi Crown Prince Brags He Has Kushner ‘In His Pocket’