In what can only be termed irony, according to Middle East news sources (the real ones) as well as the government-controlled Saudi Press Agency, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency awarded the "prestigious" "George J. Tenet Medal" to Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of the Interior, Mohammad bin Nayaf bin Abdulaziz for excellent intelligence performance. The medal was presented to the Crown Prince by CIA Director Mike Pompeo in recognition of his "...excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realize world security and peace."
Here are the two gentlemen in question:
Here is what the Saudi Press Agency had to say about the award:
"During a reception here tonight, the medal was handed over to him by the Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo, currently on a visit to the kingdom, in the presence of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense.
In a press statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), following the reception, the Crown Prince expressed appreciation of the CIA for bestowing on him such a grace, laying assertion that this medal is a fruit of endeavors and instructions of the leaders of the kingdom, notably the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, bravery of security men and cooperation of all walks of the community to combat terrorism.
On linking terrorism to a particular religion, the Crown Prince said that all heavenly revealed religions disclaim satanic creeds and deeds of these terrorist outfits, pointing out that all passive religious, political or social views that exploit religion as a device, through history, have, absolutely, proven to have no relation with the core of religion, which they allegedly, associate themselves with.
Commenting on the Kingdom role in combating terrorism, the Crown Prince stated the total rejection of the Kingdom of terrorism, reiterating condemning the phenomenon in all forms and manifestations, come what may are its source or goals, adding that the Kingdom will continue to combat terrorism and extremism, everywhere, security-wise as well as intellectually and explaining that God grace and due to the efforts exerted by the Kingdom, a lot of terrorist related plans have busted, proactively, including some operations which was targeting other friendly nations, a fact that contributed to limiting the casualties.
Combating terrorism is an international obligation which requires coming together of world endeavors, at all levels, to confront it, security-wise, intellectually, media-wise and militarily, drawing attention that such a cooperation shall be in accordance with the rules of international law and the founding principles of the UN, ahead of which is equality of sovereignty, he stated.
Replying a question on the current relation between the Kingdom and the US, the Crown Prince announced that our relations are historically and strategically based, and that no attempt will succeed, in driving a wedge, between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US. On measurements taken by the Kingdom to proactively foil any terrorist-like attempt, the Crown Prince declared that we are surrounded by conflict hotbeds, henceforth, we are the first to feel the brunt of terrorism, from various sources, however, we have, a priori, vowed to prepare and arrange ourselves to combat it, anywhere, by all means and in any circumstance.
During the reception, also, the Crown Prince and the US official discussed a number of mutual issues of common interest and means to promote them, in the security-wise domains, especially those related to counter terrorism. The reception was attended by senior, civil and military, officials and the US Charge d'Affaires to the Kingdom Christopher Hensel."
Here's what the Crown Prince had to say about his nation's battle with terrorism after receiving the medal:
“Saudi Arabia rejects and denounces strongly terrorism in all its forms and manifestations...
“The kingdom has been keen to combat terrorism based on its conviction that terrorism has no identity and no religion, and from its belief that the terrorists are committing these acts stemming from their deviant ideologies and evil thought...
All negative religious, political and social ideologies that use religion as a tool throughout human history, do not reflect the absolute truth about religion..."
I guess that the Crown Prince has completely forgotten about 9/11 and the links between his nation's form of Islam, Wahhabism, and its links to extremist behaviour.
Interestingly but not surprisingly, the presentation of the medal was widely covered by the Middle East press, including Iran's PressTV but received very little coverage in the United States and Europe and, as of today, there was no information about the presentation on the CIA website. I wonder why?