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Former US Four-Star Generals Coaching Up Saudi’s Military For Boatloads of Cash Should Be a Bigger Story Than LIV golf Ever Was

A new investigation by The Washington Post found that more than 500 retired military personnel have taken jobs with foreign governments since 2015, and a majority of the positions were located in North Africa or the Middle East, including consulting jobs for Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Defense.

In 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Post, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The country's officials later admitted that Saudi agents carried out a "rogue operation" without the knowledge of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, the CIA determined that the crown prince ordered the assassination.

Still, dozens of military personnel have accepted jobs contracted from Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi's killing.

Retired general James L. Jones, who served as national security advisor during the Obama administration, has two Virginia-based consulting firms — Ironhand Security LLC and Jones Group International LLC — that have contracts with Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with The Post, Jones said that he was encouraged by the Trump administration to accept more contracts from the country's Defense Ministry. According to Jones, his companies have four such contracts, with 53 U.S. citizens in Riyadh. Eight are retired generals and admirals, and 32 are former lower-ranking military personnel, The Post reported.

Earlier this year, people were up in arms about LIV Golf being funded and backed by the Saudi Royal Family.  Advocacy groups and survivors and their families were often vocal about their disapproval of huge US stars like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Bubba Watson "sports washing" the blood on Saudi Arabia's hands. All of that is justifiable and understandable. I also understand the allure of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. These are athletes that have the chance to set their families up for multi-generational wealth. That's the goal, right? Provide for your family well after you are gone. That's one thing for athletes but there should be an entirely different standard for retired generals, admirals, and special operators. 

That currently is not happening, and, if it is, the process is a joke. 

Congress permits retired troops as well as reservists to work for foreign governments if they first obtain approval from their branch of the armed forces and the State Department. But the U.S. government has fought to keep the hirings secret. For years, it withheld virtually all information about the practice, including which countries employ the most retired U.S. service members and how much money is at stake.

The highest-ranking officers in the military, Four Star Generals, make around 203,000 dollars at the end of their careers. The Washington Post investigation showed that some retired generals had foreign contracts worth up to ten million dollars a year. 

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That's a huge problem. One of the damning pieces of evidence in this whole situation is the fact that the approval rate from the branches and the federal government under multiple administrations was ninety-five percent. Yeah. 95 percent of all people who requested to work for these governments were approved. The Post goes on to say that "documents show that 25 retirees from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps were granted permission to take jobs in Saudi Arabia. Most were high-ranking officers who received job offers to serve as consultants to the Saudi Defense Ministry."

We talk about why that is an issue in the latest Zero Blog 30.