The question many are asking this week: Is Prince Bandar dead?
The answer, as far as our reporting goes, is no. We paused yesterday before posting our story about the sale of the former Saudi ambassador’s Kalorama apartment. The cause of the hesitation was several unconfirmed reports that he was killed over the weekend by a Syrian death squad as payback for “Operation Damascus Volcano”—a mission he may have organized as the new head of Saudi Intelligence.
The Internet was heavy with rumors, but nothing that confirmed his death. We wanted to find out what was being said here in Washington, where he lived since the 1980s, worked closely with the government, and had many friends. We called around, and here’s what we got:
The CIA: “The rumor that came out about this was wrong. We can’t say when he’ll turn up, but the rumors are incorrect.”
The State Department: “Completely bogus.”
The office of former President George W. Bush, with whom Prince Bandar had a close relationship: “This is the first we’ve heard of it.”
Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush: “To the best of our knowledge, there is no truth to this rumor.”
We also reached out to the Saudi Arabian embassy, the FBI, and the Department of Defense but received no word back on Prince Bandar’s status. None of our sources could confirm his whereabouts.