Newsbreaking and controversial -- an award-winning investigative journalist uncovers the thirty-year relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud and explains its impact on American foreign policy, business, and national security.
House of Bush, House of Saud begins with a politically explosive question: How is it that two days after 9/11, when U.S. air traffic was tightly restricted, 140 Saudis, many immediate kin to Osama Bin Laden, were permitted to leave the country without being questioned by U.S. intelligence?
The answer lies in a hidden relationship that began in the 1970s, when the oil-rich House of Saud began courting American politicians in a bid for military protection, influence, and investment opportunity. With the Bush family, the Saudis hit a gusher -- direct access to presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. To trace the amazing weave of Saud- Bush connections, Unger interviewed three former directors of the CIA, top Saudi and Israeli intelligence officials, and more than one hundred other sources. His access to major players is unparalleled and often exclusive -- including executives at the Carlyle Group, the giant investment firm where the House of Bush and the House of Saud each has a major stake.
Like Bob Woodward's The Veil, Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud features unprecedented reportage; like Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? Unger's book offers a political counter-narrative to official explanations; this deeply sourced account has already been cited by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, and sets 9/11, the two Gulf Wars, and the ongoing Middle East crisis in a new context: What really happened when America's most powerful political family became seduced by its Saudi counterparts?
In this potentially explosive book, investigative journalist Unger, who has written for the New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair, pieces together the highly unusual and close personal and financial relationships between the Bush family and the ruling family of Saudi Arabia--and questions the implications for Bush's preparedness, or possible lack thereof, for September 11. What could forge such an unlikely alliance between the leader of the free world and the leaders of a stifling Islamic theocracy? First and foremost, according to Unger, is money. He compiles figures in an appendix indicating over $1.4 billion worth of business between the Saudi royal family and businesses tied (sometimes loosely) to the House of Bush, ranging from donations to the Bush presidential library to investments with the Carlyle Group ("a well-known player in global commerce" for which George H.W. Bush has been a senior advisor and his secretary of state, James Baker, is a partner), to deals with Halliburton, of which Dick Cheney was CEO. James Baker's law firm even defended the House of Saud in a lawsuit brought by relatives of victims of September 11. Unger also questions whether the Bush grew so complacent about the Saudis that his administration ignored then White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke's repeated warnings and recommendations about the Saudis and al-Qaeda. Another question raised by Unger's research is whether millions in Saudi money given to U.S. Muslim groups may have delivered a crucial block of Muslim votes to George W. Bush in 2000--and it's questions like that will make some readers wonder whether Unger is applying a chainsaw to issues that should be dissected with a scalpel. But whether one buys Unger's arguments or not, there's little doubt that with this intensely researched, well-written book he has poured more flame onto the political fires of 2004.