The Washington Post has unveiled a major three-part investigation of retired US military personnel who work for foreign militaries, including for some countries "known for human rights abuses and political repression." The report contains a lot of information the government tried to keep secret, and it only came to light after two years and a salvo of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the US military and State Dept. According to the Post, more than 500 retired military personnel have worked in "lucrative jobs" for foreign governments since 2015, including many big-name generals and admirals. They're all supposed to get government approval for such work, but the investigation reveals a system where most requests are rubberstamped and there is essentially no penalty for breaking the law. Indeed, the Post found numerous examples of retired officers working for foreign governments without approval.
Part One focuses on Saudi Arabia, where high-profile retired generals like James L. Jones—former Marine Corps commandant and national security adviser to President Obama—have worked for years to help the country upgrade its military. Meanwhile, the Saudi government under Crown Prince Mohammed has continued to engage in human rights abuses at home and abroad, including its calamitous intervention in the Yemeni civil war and the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Part two of the report focuses on the UAE, which also contributed to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and benefits from high-priced American military consultants. The third part is about ongoing work—and potential conflict of interest—by retired US admirals consulting for an Australian nuclear sub program. Read the whole investigation here. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)