Written by Staff Writer, CNN
Two Saudis have disputed reports that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered attacks by a string of terror cells, saying on Wednesday he is a “psychopath” who frequently boasted of being able to kill the country’s founding father in a series of meetings with journalists.
In a Washington Post op-ed by Sulaiman al-Jasser and Saad Nabeel, the men say they worked for intelligence chiefs under former King Abdullah and Prince Mohammed, one of the deputy crown princes, during the first years of the 16-year reign of King Abdullah, who passed away in 2015.
They said they had been sacked in 2014 over claims they had failed to stop a string of terror attacks before the al Qaeda terror network in his kingdom was broken down.
While initially discounted by diplomats and analysts, a Saudi government inquiry later concluded the kingdom had an “unprecedented network of sleeper cells,” the authors wrote.
The op-ed describes a series of meetings between the two men and Prince Mohammed at which the crown prince boasted of his ability to kill King Abdullah.
“He wanted us to help foil yet another attack on the Mecca pilgrimage, the holiest place in Islam. He believed it was an opportunity to demonstrate his control and authority,” the authors wrote.
“He was boasting about his ability to kill the founder of the state he claims to love, King Abdullah, and to stop an attack on Mecca just before Haj, the Muslim pilgrimage to the holiest site in the world.”
In response to the op-ed, the Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement, repeating the country’s stance that it had a network of security agents that helped foil terror attacks.
Crown Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, has come under fire for his perceived mismanagement of the government, which has been plagued by cash shortages, corruption and rising public spending ahead of a much-anticipated May election.
The op-ed comes amid a series of bizarre allegations suggesting he had deliberately orchestrated the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist whose murder sparked international outrage.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled out of a meeting with MBS on Wednesday after an anonymous Washington Post article alleged the Saudi leader had ordered the murder, citing a senior administration official.