More Contempt for Suthers' Visit to Saudi Arabia

November 24 2006, 4:22 PM

The other day I wrote critically of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers' trip to Saudi Arabia to try and pacify the Saudis about the conviction of the son of one of their powerful citizens for treating his Indonesian nanny and maid as a sex slave. Sunday, Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi skewered Suthers some more:

Surely a brief e-mail could have done the trick and saved taxpayers thousands. "Guys, you simply can't keep slaves over here ... nope, not even sex slaves." .... why was our newly elected attorney general mollifying some of the world's biggest gangsters?

Harsanyi did some digging and learned that Gov. Owens, in requesting Suthers to make the trip, did so at the behest of the State Department.

Having spoken to Suthers, I have a better understanding of why he believes it was a good idea. Gov. Bill Owens, Suthers says, had called him on behalf of some higher-ups at the U.S. State Department. Al-Turki, you see, comes from a powerful Saudi family. "I wasn't really excited about this. The election had just ended. This was not something I was eager to do. But James Oberwetter, the ambassador in Saudi Arabia, said that he was shocked at the amount of adverse publicity being generated as a result of this case," Suthers explains. "The influence of this particular family was tremendous. His father is an imam ... and the family has a lot of clout with the press over there."

I agree completely with Harsanyi:

Wouldn't it have made more sense to dispatch Suthers to ask the questions? What's happening to those American children kidnapped by Saudi fathers? What's up with those Saudi telethons for Hamas - a designated terrorist organization? Why did so many 9/11 hijackers call Saudi Arabia home? Why does the Saudi imperial family fund militant Wahhabi schools across the world? You know, that sort of thing. And until they answer, why not leave the Saudi footsie-playing to the State Department and the hand-holding smooch sessions to our president?

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