Washington believes the kingdom
could have done more to prevent
Washington's ambassador to Riyadh, Robert Jordan, said on Wednesday that the kingdom did not respond to requests for more security at the attacked compounds
US requests for machine-gun mounted vehicles at the gates of the Jedawal compound and a reaction team inside were rejected by the Saudi Air Force that guards the facility, US officials told ABC News televison.
The US State Department had warned days before the explosions that “terrorist groups may be in the final phases of planning attacks against US interests in Saudi Arabia”, the US officials said.
Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley went to Riyadh last week to deliver the warning, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. White House officials would not confirm Hadley’s trip.
Praise for co-operation
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Saudi Arabia, like many other countries, had some “terrorists” on its soil and called on Riyadh to deal with it.
But Fleischer was quick to emphasize that Saudi Arabia was an important partner in Washington’s “war on terror”, saying US President George W. Bush was pleased with Riyadh’s co-operation.
He said the attacks would not make Washington reassess its relationship with Riyadh, suggesting this is what the assailants wanted.
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar echoed Fleischer, saying the attacks were aimed at hurting US-Saudi ties.
Meanwhile, US and British envoys in Riyadh met with their nationals on Wednesday and urged them to boost their personal security.
But they did not ask their citizens to leave the kingdom. A number of Westerners have started leaving Saudi Arabia and some foreign firms were closed following the attacks.
The US embassy is evacuating non-essential staff and any of its 40,000 citizens who want to leave.
At least seven Americans died in the Monday night bombings in Riyadh.