Former CIA agent: Mike Pence called him a ‘murderer’ during Saudi interrogation

A former Saudi Arabian intelligence official told the House Judiciary Committee that he was forced to report his suspicion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a psychopath to then-national security adviser, Sam Brownback, and also described him as a “murderer.”

Former CIA agent Jason Rezaian testified before the panel about his torture during his detention in a secret prison in Saudi Arabia. When he asked why he was detained and tortured, Rezaian said he was told that he was a CIA spy, which he denied being. According to Rezaian, the Saudis decided to hang him in a small dog cage outside a prison that had been built as an unofficial version of Guantanamo Bay.

Rezaian, who is now the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, had visited the country on other occasions, so he was unable to identify the prison. Rezaian was ordered arrested in October 2014, and returned home in September 2016. He has been critical of Saudi Arabia in the past, comparing it to regimes in the ’80s and ’90s that have tortured people.

When Rezaian was interrogated by Saudi officials, he says he could not ask questions to his face because of his prison experience. When he asked why he was interrogated, Rezaian was told to bring a colleague with him, who was not in the country at the time. When he read the official statement of charges, Rezaian came across something that said they are asking him because they think he’s a CIA spy. When asked if he was a CIA spy, Rezaian was told he was a CIA spy. When he asked the interrogator if he was a spy who is also a murderer, the man responded, “yes, you are.”

Rezaian reported that after the interrogation, he learned of the charges against him from his colleagues who were gathered by Brownback, the top U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia. Rezaian was later told to write down what had been said, and then post it in the lobby at the office of Saud al-Qahtani, a high-ranking Saudi official.

Back then, the Crown Prince was called MBS and was described as “the heir to the throne” when the investigation against Rezaian began. Rezaian says that now the investigation has led up to MBS as a murderer. “I mean, a psychopath,” Rezaian told the committee.

Most recently, Vice President Mike Pence dismissed the allegations, saying the real issues are that Rezaian is “still spending time in prison in Saudi Arabia” and that “President Trump has been working to bring him home.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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