CIA director visits Saudi Arabia to reinforce US commitment to intel cooperation

According to a US official, Bill Burns met with intelligence counterparts and country leaders on shared interests.

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The head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Bill Burns was in Saudi Arabia this week to meet with officials and reinforce Washington’s commitment to intelligence cooperation, a US official told Al Arabiya English on Wednesday.

“Director Burns traveled to Saudi Arabia, where he met with intelligence counterparts and country leaders on shared interests,” the official said.


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The official added that Burns reinforced “our commitment to intelligence cooperation, especially in areas such as counterterrorism.”

Asked to confirm the trip, a CIA spokesperson said the agency does not comment on the director’s travel.

Ties between the US and Saudi Arabia have been turbulent over the last two years, particularly following President Biden’s campaign pledge to make the Gulf country “a pariah.”

The CIA director’s quiet trip comes on the heels of a surprising agreement signed between Riyadh and Tehran, brokered by China, to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies and exchange ambassadors in the next month.

But US-Saudi cooperation on the military and intelligence levels has remained robust. The US and Saudi Arabia recently concluded their first joint counter-drone exercise at a new military testing center in Riyadh.

And Saudi Arabia recently signed what the US called “landmark deals” with Boeing for more than 120 aircraft worth $37 billion. The White House said the agreement could potentially support over one million American jobs across 44 states.

Read more: US, Saudi Arabia complete first counter-drone exercise at Red Sands testing facility