Retired US General Taking Saudi Crown Pay Checks

According to a Washington Post investigation, over 500 retired U.S. military personnel have found contracting positions with foreign governments known for their human rights abuses and political repression.

Aren’t they allowed to work after retirement?
While the U.S. allows former military members to work for foreign governments with approval from the military and the State Department, the government has fought to keep the hiring and salaries secret. The Post sued multiple military branches and the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in order to obtain hidden information.

Did the jobs compromise the U.S. in any way?
Most of the positions were civilian contractor jobs in Persian Gulf petrostates, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 15 retired U.S. generals and admirals have worked for the Defense Ministry of Saudi Arabia, a country that has allegedly killed an American journalist and remains in the spotlight for possible links to 9/11. Since the death of reporter Jamal Khashoggi, a retired four-star Air Force general and a former commanding general of U.S. troops in Afghanistan have gone to work for the kingdom.

What’s the objective of these countries’ interest in U.S. personnel?
The Post believes that the monarchy has used the former military leaders for their expertise and political clout to develop deeper ties to the U.S. We know that oil money talks, but how loud? According to documents, U.S. military “talent” total salaries are in the six to seven-figure range, far more than the top salaries in the U.S. military. Four-star generals (at the top of the pay scale) earn just $203,698 a year. In Qatar, a firm owned by six ex-Pentagon officials scored a $23.6m defense contract.

In Azerbaijan, one ex-U.S. Air Force general charged a rate of $5,000 a day. During court battles for the information, the military moved to redact pay information, stating that its release would subject ex-service members to “embarrassment and harassment”, and “unfairly harm their public reputation.” Much American personnel reportedly benefited from relationships forged during times of conflict by eventually working for Middle Eastern nations where they had previously served. Some were even reported to have negotiated jobs with foreign governments while still in the U.S. military.

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