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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (802 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Baer Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2003 ISBN: 9780736698214
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In his explosive New York Times bestseller, See No Evil, former CIA operative Robert Baer exposed how Washington politics drastically compromised the CIA’s efforts to fight global terrorism. Now in his powerful new book, Sleeping with the Devil, Baer turns his attention to Saudi Arabia, revealing how our government’s cynical relationship with our Middle Eastern ally and America’s dependence on Saudi oil make us increasingly vulnerable to economic disaster and put us at risk for further acts of terrorism.

For decades, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been locked in a “harmony of interests.” America counted on the Saudis for cheap oil, political stability in the Middle East, and lucrative business relationships for the United States, while providing a voracious market for the kingdom’s vast oil reserves. With money and oil flowing freely between Washington and Riyadh, the United States felt secure in its relationship with the Saudis and the ruling Al Sa’ud family. But the rot at the core of our “friendship” with the Saudis was dramatically revealed when fifteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers proved to be Saudi citizens.

In Sleeping with the Devil, Baer documents with chilling clarity how our addiction to cheap oil and Saudi petrodollars caused us to turn a blind eye to the Al Sa’ud’s culture of bribery, its abysmal human rights record, and its financial support of fundamentalist Islamic groups that have been directly linked to international acts of terror, including those against the United States. Drawing on his experience as a field operative who was on the ground in the Middle East for much of his twenty years with the agency, as well as the large network of sources he has cultivated in the region and in the U.S. intelligence community, Baer vividly portrays our decades-old relationship with the increasingly dysfunctional and corrupt Al Sa’ud family, the fierce anti-Western sentiment that is sweeping the kingdom, and the desperate link between the two. In hopes of saving its own neck, the royal family has been shoveling money as fast as it can to mosque schools that preach hatred of America and to militant fundamentalist groups—an end game just waiting to play out.

Baer not only reveals the outrageous excesses of a Saudi royal family completely out of touch with the people of its kingdom, he also takes readers on a highly personal search for the deeper roots of modern terrorism, a journey that returns time again and again to Saudi Arabia: to the Wahhabis, the powerful Islamic sect that rules the Saudi street; to the Taliban and al Qaeda, both of which Saudi Arabia helped to underwrite; and to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most active and effective terrorist groups in existence, which the Al Sa’ud have sheltered and funded. The money and arms that we send to Saudi Arabia are, in effect, being used to cut our own throat, Baer writes, but America might have only itself to blame. So long as we continue to encourage the highly volatile Saudi state to bank our oil under its sand—and so long as we continue to grab at the Al Sa’ud’s money—we are laying the groundwork for a potential global economic catastrophe.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A chilling evaluation of today's geopolitical situation...highly recommended. Dallas Morning News
  • "An unsettling, eye-opening account of our relationship with Saudi Arabia... [Baer] gets our attention. Boston Herald
  • “Details how an administration known for its vigilance on the international scene routinely and inexplicably spins, caves, and hops for the Saudis. The Washington Post
  • "[Baer] makes a strong case that Saudi Arabia-with skyrocketing birth rates, growing unemployment, a falling per capita income and a corrupt ruling family draining the public coffers-is a powder keg waiting to explode. Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shereif | 2/18/2014

    " An eye-opening argument as to how the world's most powerful country, United States, setup its own trap by falling in the same hole it dug for itself. The main culprit: oil. Baer argues that the ousted Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt and other Islamic countries are the main reason for global terrorism. And because the rulers of Saudi Arabia want to maintain their extravagant lifestyle and power, they bowed to the fundamentalists; even provided "hush" money that went to the organizations that were responsible for 9/11 to not overthrow them. All the while , the US dug its head in the sand, pretending that nothing was wrong. If I learned anything from Baer it's that Washington is clueless and too much "in bed" with Saudi Arabia. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erika | 2/15/2014

    " Anyone interested in how we've gotten ourselves into this issue of reliance on oil should read this book. Very eye opening! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Isis | 2/13/2014

    " A little outdated; after all, oil prices soared last year, and the US economy tanked - but for different reasons. But it's still an interesting and worthwhile read about how the Saudi kleptocracy is our own damn fault, and how they are so not our friends, duh. The first section, in which Baer meticulously follows the money from Saudi Arabia to American oil interests and back again, is somewhat dull (at least to me) and told me nothing I didn't know. But I'm glad I stuck through it to get to the fascinating middle section about the Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the historical development of the ties between the Saudi royal family and the US. And in the third section, Baer connects the dots and ties it all together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt Ayau | 2/9/2014

    " If you saw the Movie Syriana and were a little confused, this book will explain much of what goes on in the film. Syriana was actually based on a previous book of Baer's (a former CIA agent who specialized in the Middle East). This is a very interesting book given these times in which we find ourselves. This is not a novel, but a nonfiction piece with some speculation in it--such as, what it would take to cripple Saudi oil production. The book lays out the "big picture" for our involement with various Middle Eastern regimes and how oil greases most, if not all, of those relationships. After reading this book, I wished Baer was in government still, but as a policymaker and not a spook. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam | 1/28/2014

    " An absolute must read for anyone with an interest in current events or the Middle East and its influence on the U.S. political landscape. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicholas | 1/19/2014

    " I remember liking it. That's about it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Benjamin | 1/2/2014

    " Way to go me for reading this about 10 years after the fact. Not sure it's super pertinent now, but the history lesson seems valuable. Also brings a lot of Syriana into perspective. Would be interested to read more on what's happened to Saudi Arabia in the past ten years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 12/18/2013

    " More from the front lines of a CIA agent's attempt to battle terrorism. Follow up of Baer's See No Evil. Deals more specifically with the political and business relations between the Saudi Royal Family and American interests and some of the inherent problems this creates. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 OneDraft | 12/16/2013

    " Must read on how Washington politicians have settled in with doing business that supports terrorism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 11/24/2013

    " I thought 'See No Evil' was more interesting, but this book was good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie S | 11/13/2013

    " I only got part of the way through. I have trouble with books of this nature due to the source's history. I am actually less likely to give it much weight. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garry | 9/26/2013

    " This book was fantastic! It was written by an ex-CIA operative and gave an amazing insight in to the relationship and codependency of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. If anyone works with any Saudis or if you do any travel to the region, it is well worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon | 9/16/2013

    " Still shaking my head in disbelief... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 8/20/2013

    " Slow, poorly written, but very informative. Perhaps not entirely balanced and perhaps not well-cited, but very interesting nonetheless. A necessary read for anyone remotely interested in American foreign oil politics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wheels | 4/24/2013

    " Rather enlightening explanation of the internal conflicts of the House of Saud and how it came to be this way. Extremes of wealth and poverty, freedom and oppression, modernity and primitives. Great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crissy | 2/4/2013

    " Entirely different perspective on our greed with oil and dirty relationship/ties with the Middle East and terrorist regimes. We've created this mess by turning the other cheek from our own greedy desires. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 12/21/2012

    " After reading this book you get the picture of our relationship with Saudi Arabia, oil, and the contradiction of a country that's for democracy, but keeps the most brutal monarchy in power for access to their resource. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brianne | 10/11/2012

    " Of course parts of this book are "missing" because we are apparently not allowed to know. But what is still there will scare your pants off. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eoin Oneill | 1/26/2012

    " Typically brilliant Robert Baer book. Always an easy read and well explained background. I know it is only an opinion on the kingdom but it is very very revealing on the lax nature of Washington, the kingdom and the greed there in. Very very enjoyable read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cristi | 12/18/2011

    " Eye-opening and scary. A difficult read, as the facts are so depressing, but a must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce Flanagan | 11/15/2011

    " Absolute awesome book could not put it down, ready anything by Robert Baer and Ex CIA agent "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa Cavanaugh | 9/18/2011

    " An engaging read, if you can overlook the fact that he makes an Olympic sport out of leaping to conclusions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 6/5/2011

    " Robert Baer clearly had a bone to pick about oil and the Saudis. I would too if I had his experiences. America and Middle East foreign policy seems to be choosing the least evil/corrupt people to work with, but they clearly aren't our friends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce | 3/5/2011

    " Absolute awesome book could not put it down, ready anything by Robert Baer and Ex CIA agent "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 1/4/2011

    " I thought 'See No Evil' was more interesting, but this book was good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 9/9/2010

    " Slow, poorly written, but very informative. Perhaps not entirely balanced and perhaps not well-cited, but very interesting nonetheless. A necessary read for anyone remotely interested in American foreign oil politics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Y.S. | 8/6/2010

    " The depth of corruption amidst our ranks for control over oil is simply revolting. The author does an amazing job at describing the horror we live in. A must have. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Garry | 6/9/2009

    " This book was fantastic! It was written by an ex-CIA operative and gave an amazing insight in to the relationship and codependency of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. If anyone works with any Saudis or if you do any travel to the region, it is well worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crissy | 2/12/2009

    " Entirely different perspective on our greed with oil and dirty relationship/ties with the Middle East and terrorist regimes. We've created this mess by turning the other cheek from our own greedy desires. "

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About the Author
Robert Baer spent twenty years running agents from inside the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, operating against Hizballah, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, and “was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East” (Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker). His memoir See No Evil was a New York Times bestseller and inspired the movie Syriana starring George Clooney. He lives in Colorado.
About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.