ABU DHABI -- The U.S. intelligence community has managed to obtain a first-hand look at Saudi Crown Prince Sultan, regarded as the leading pro-American member of the Saudi royal family and who fell seriously ill recently.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud smiles after a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at Madrid's Moncloa palace on June 5. Reuters/Andrea Comas
CIA director Michael Hayden met Sultan, who is also the kingdom's defense minister, on June 10 in Jedda. It was the first meeting between a senior U.S. official and Sultan since he collapsed in April 2008.
In May, President George Bush and his delegation met Saudi leaders in an attempt to gauge the mood within the royal family in wake of Sultan's collapse. At the time, Sultan was in a medical facility in Geneva, Switzerland.
Over the last week, Sultan has returned to the public eye. The crown prince concluded a four-day visit to Spain and then was photographed with Hayden.
Saudi officials said Hayden and Sultan discussed the strategic situation in the Middle East and the Gulf. Sultan was accompanied by other officials, including his son Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled.
The 84-year-old Sultan has been regarded as the most pro-American figure in the Saudi royal family. During his collapse, Sultan's duties as crown prince were taken over by Interior Ministery Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz, seen as close to Al Qaida.
Gee, what a shock....Nayef...
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