The Magazine

Sultan of Spin

The dishonesty of Saudi PR flack Adel al-Jubeir.

Dec 16, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 14 • By DAVID TELL, FOR THE EDITORS
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While in Riyadh, Dan Burton was able to interview Monica Stowers's daughter Amjad. She was weeping and her hands were trembling and she told Burton, "I want to go to America, I want to be free." But just the night before, Amjad's father had forced her to marry a 42-year-old Saudi Arabian air force officer, and this man was now right there, watching, while she answered Burton's questions. Amjad looked over at her "husband," lowered her head, and told Burton that what she wanted wasn't important--that she couldn't leave, "not now."

What's the deal here, Mike Wallace asked Adel al-Jubeir a few weeks later on "60 Minutes"? "We were accused of not allowing her to leave," he replied. "I'm telling you, she has a passport and she has a visa. Why doesn't she leave?" When did Amjad get this passport, Wallace wanted to know? "Mike, as soon as we found out about it, we fixed it, which means we move very quickly. I told you, I didn't know about this case until--what?--a month ago."

Whereupon Wallace showed his "60 Minutes" audience a 14-year-old document by which the Saudi government washed its hands of responsibility for Monica Stowers's daughter. The document was signed by Adel al-Jubeir.

Sultan of Spin, indeed.

--David Tell, for the Editors