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Retired Soldier Can Do 7 Figures With Foreign Governments: WaPo

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  • Hundreds of retired military officers have found jobs in foreign governments since 2015, according to the WaPo report.
  • They usually accept highly lucrative positions that pay salaries and benefits of up to seven figures.
  • According to WaPo, some of the countries where these veterans work have committed human rights abuses.

Hundreds of retired military officers took high-paying jobs in foreign governments, at times reaching the seven figures in pay and benefits, according to one report.

A new study by The Washington Post found that more than 500 retired military personnel have found jobs in foreign governments since 2015, with most of the positions in North Africa or the Middle East, including consulting jobs for the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense.

The Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

For example, the Australian government has offered former US Navy officials more than $10 million in consulting deals. A retired US Air Force general was offered a $5,000 daily consulting job in Azerbaijan.

By contrast, an active four-star general with more than two decades of experience earns basic wages of up to $203,698 per year, according to The Post.

The Post reported that Saudi Arabia, which has been repeatedly accused of human rights abuses, has hired at least 15 retired US generals and admirals as advisers to the country’s Ministry of Defense.

A former navy seal hired as a special operations consultant for $258,000 a year.

Saudi Arabia’s attack on foreign dissidents also did not prevent US military officers from taking jobs from the country.

In 2018, The Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Country officials later admitted that Saudi agents carried out a “rogue operation” without the knowledge of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, the CIA decided that the crown prince had ordered the assassination.

Still, dozens of military personnel have accepted contract jobs from Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi’s murder.

Retired general James L. Jones, who served as national security adviser during the Obama administration, has two Virginia-based consulting firms – Ironhand Security LLC and Jones Group International LLC – contracted with Saudi Arabia.

Jones said in an interview with The Post that he was encouraged by the Trump administration to accept more contracts from the country’s Department of Defense. According to Jones, his companies have four such contracts with 53 US citizens in Riyadh. Eight are retired generals and admirals and 32 are former junior military personnel, The Post reported.

“No one ever came to us and said, ‘Hey, we think you should pull out,'” Jones told The Post. “I don’t know what the alternative would have been if we had withdrawn. I was worried that (the Saudis) would be dragged into other relations with the Chinese and the Russians, and I didn’t think it would be very good. Good.”

Charles Wald, a retired four-star Air Force general who agreed to work in Riyadh for one of Jones’ companies, said there was substantial debate over whether he should stop working for Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s murder.

“We basically asked ourselves whether we are condoning immorality or are we supporting a legitimate government,” Wald told The Post. The firm has decided to stay.

Other military personnel found employment in Indonesia or the United Arab Emirates.

Under the Emoluments Clause Restrictions, the Constitution specifies that retired U.S. military personnel who have served in uniform for at least 20 years and qualify for a pension cannot receive consulting fees, gifts, jobs, or titles from foreign governments. without the express consent of Congress.

But the Post found that consent is almost always granted. About 95% of the 500 requests made since 2015 have been approved. The post also reported that some individuals had business negotiations with foreign governments during active service.

According to the publication, there is no penalty for breaking the law and enforcement is rare.

One of the most prolific cases in which a former US military officer was punished for accepting pay from a foreign government was that of Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

According to The Post, an investigation by the Department of Defense revealed that Flynn received approximately $450,000 from Russian and Turkish sources in 2015, a year after he retired from the Army.

Flynn was convicted in December 2017 of lying to the FBI about his ties to a Russian ambassador. Trump pardoned Flynn in November 2020.

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