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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (803 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Baer Narrator: Robert O’Keefe Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2003 ISBN: 9780739304150
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“Saudi Arabia is more and more an irrational state—a place that spawns global terrorism even as it succumbs to an ancient and deeply seated isolationism, a kingdom led by a royal family that can’t get out of the way of its own greed. Is this the fulcrum we want the global economy to balance on?”

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 has 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 it became apparent that 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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Listener Opinions

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

    " Want to truly know how ingrained oil is in u.s. politics? I mean nitty-gritty, hand-shakes-in-dark-rooms, money under the table? You really should read this. Baer is ex-CIA field ops in the Middle East. This book was redacted by the CIA (so who knows what was taken out), but what's left IN is enough to make you wonder why the heck we keep voting these jerks into office -- Democan or Republicrat. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brice Meerman | 2/18/2014

    " Had to read this for an American History class, and I gotta tell you, I love love LOVE conspiracy books. However, this is a great semi-truthful book (I say semi bc even Robert Baer admits he embellished some). The only draw back was that the flow of this book was hard to get into and keep track of due to it reading, in parts, like an actual history textbook. Other than that, great book. I'll give Baer another chance and maybe read more of his works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rushay Booysen | 2/10/2014

    " Interesting read about the playing fields of the Saudi's and the Americans and how they basically holding the world in the palm of their hands through our constant need for mass consumption of oil.While i can already see groups on both ends dismaying this as propaganda i can def believe alot of what i read.Its interesting to see how the current "revolution" will shape the world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Maguire | 2/3/2014

    " His first book was better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shira | 1/30/2014

    " Nobody in Washington is clean...no one. Following that depressing thought, enjoy this book and get a frank (peut-etre harsh?) look at US-Saudi policies. Caution: you feel relentlessly uninformed for months following reading this book, but you'll consume newspapers like never before. I need to put this book on my "to read" list as well, as it bears re-reading--very dense in terms of information. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crissy | 1/25/2014

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 1/25/2014

    " There's a little too much of the "follow the money" for my taste. He provides more than enough financial evidence to establish the link between the Saudi royal family and the US ruling elite but then keeps hammering that point. Maybe that was necessary but I found a little bit boring to read example after example of Saudi oil money buying influence. Still, though, a necessary book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Syed | 1/15/2014

    " A nicely written book, reflecting what is going on in Middle East on the name of OIL!!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eoin Oneill | 12/31/2013

    " 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 Kate | 12/21/2013

    " Powerful and enlightening. It has been a long time since I have read anything political and longer than a New Yorker article. This book was accessible and gripping. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 12/16/2013

    " 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 Melissa Cavanaugh | 12/2/2013

    " 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 Daniel Burton | 11/11/2013

    " Holy cow, this is an interesting book, even if Baer is not as much at the center of the action as he thinks he is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce Flanagan | 4/21/2013

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 9/1/2012

    " 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 Geoffrey | 8/1/2012

    " Nobody ever remembers that most of the hijackers were Saudi. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brianne | 6/2/2012

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 3/25/2012

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 3/9/2012

    " 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 Emily | 6/4/2011

    " Makes you not want to sleep. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 matthew davis | 4/8/2011

    " the follow-up to his first effort on which the movie syriana was based. he offers a good insight into the life of a spy in the middle east and the complicity of our government in the oil trade. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erika | 3/24/2011

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

  • 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.