The other night on PBS’ Frontline series they aired an excellent investigation called “Black Money” about rampant international bribery. We aren’t talking about nickel and dime bribery either. In one case Siemens was fined $800 million by the US for their bribery operations. In another case it appears that British Aerospace (BAe) paid a member of the Saudi royal family a $2 BILLION bribe in exchange for defense contracts. I say “it appears” because the investigation was shut down before it could be completed. When the British government’s investigation started getting too close to the Saudi’s, the Saudi’s told Prime Minister Tony Blair that they would stop cooperating with Britain on anti-terrorist efforts if the British government continued to pursue the investigation. Tony Blair then put enormous pressure (of the “lives will be lost” variety) on the chief investigator who then shut down the investigation.
Since then, the US Department of Justice is continuing to pursue the charges against BAe. Of course the Saudi’s deny everything and their apologist-in-chief is none other than former FBI director Louis Freeh. Whether or not the bribery allegations are true, it is the height of cynical opportunism for Freeh to be representing Prince Bandar in this case. Think of it, for 8 years you are one of the top law enforcement officers in the United States, privy to a world of top secret information, and your post-FBI gig is to defend the Saudi royal family. Maybe this wouldn’t appear so slimy to me if I didn’t feel like BAe and the Saudis were as guilty as sin. Thankfully the print media are following the story.
Back in 2005 on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Freeh talked about an investigation into a terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen. In that situation, the same Prince Bandar who Freeh now defends, wouldn’t give him and the FBI access to the accused bombers unless the President himself ask Bandar. Freeh’s point in telling the story was to indicate how he felt that Clinton chose his own self-interest over justice and the best interests of the U.S. Apparently Freeh’s own self-interest also trumps justice and the best interests of the U.S.
Of course Freeh doesn’t see the disconnect between his public duty and his private greed. In his own words to the Hillsdale College commencement in 2008, Freeh told graduates:
“Your integrity and your honor are what’s most important at the end of the
day…Don’t be afraid to take action and don’t be afraid to put yourself at