Liberia: Everybody’s Mum Over CIA Briefing At Langley

Washington – Liberians were on edge Wednesday awaiting the outcome of a highly touted meeting between President George Weah, and a handful of his officials, who sat down for a highly-touted security meeting with top brass of the US Central Intelligence Agency at Langley, the CIA headquarters in McClean, Virginia.

By Lennart Dodoo, ldodoo@frontpageafricaonline.com

The President of Liberia departed the country last weekend for international engagements in the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates.

The President was accompanied by Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Cllr. Musah Dean, Minister of Justice; Maj. Gen (Rtd). Daniel Ziankahn,  Minister of National Defense; Hon. Mawine Diggs, Minister of Commerce and Industry; Hon. Ledgerhood Julius Rennie, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism; Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., Minister of Finance and Development Planning; and Hon. Eugene Lenn Nagbe, Commissioner of Liberia Maritime Authority.

FrontPageAfrica has, however, gathered that not all members of the delegation were allowed in the briefing with the CIA on Wednesday.

A source privy to the surroundings of the discussions told FPA that only President Weah, and two members of his Cabinet including his Defense Minister sat in the meeting.

As Weah administration and US officials remain tightlipped on what was discussed Wednesday, one source confided to FPA that a gag order was placed on the briefing, meaning the details of what was discussed is off reached from the public domain.

The Langley briefing reportedly came upon the invitation extended early this year to President Weah by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William J. Burns, who reportedly urged the President to visit the agency’s headquarters in Virginia.

The invitation immediately sparked concerns amongst Liberians at home and abroad amid suggestions that the US intelligence had summoned the President in a bid to read his administration the riot act amid recent reports of governance lapses, corruption, money laundering, and drug busts in the country.

The briefing also came barely 48 hours after the US State Department released its annual Human Rights report.

Among the key highlights of the report is the mentioning of several reports that the government of Liberia or its agents were involved in arbitrary or unlawful killings.

The report: “significant human rights issues included credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats of violence against journalists; serious government corruption; lack of investigation and accountability for gender-based violence, including child, early, and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation/cutting; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons; the existence and enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and the outlawing of independent trade unions or significant restrictions on workers’ freedom of association.”

It can be recalled that CIA Director Burns was in Monrovia in January during which time he held a closed-door meeting with President Weah and senior security officials, including the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), J. Henric Pearson, and the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Musa Dean.

Director Burns has been in the position since his appointment by President  Biden on March 19, 2021.

He previously served as the United States deputy secretary of state from 2011 to 2014, and in 2009 he served as Acting Secretary of State before the Senate confirmation of Hillary Clinton.

Uncertainty and lack of details over the briefing have sparked numerous speculations and a yet-to-be-verified report making the rounds on social media platforms Wednesday suggesting that President Weah was under investigation by the CIA.

A senior administration official dismissed the report by an unverified freelancer, Maxwell Peters as unfounded, when FrontPageAfrica made queries Wednesday.

The report citing sources claimed that the Israeli Mossad had established a trail of corroborated evidence that miscreant Lebanese businessmen in Liberia with ties to the Liberian President are funding Hezbollah and other terrorist groups in the Middle East from revenue generated from businesses they are doing in Liberia.

The Mossad report comes just days after United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy frowned on some Liberians in the U.S. and other countries for disseminating rumors or misinformation into Liberia’s political environment from the safety of their studio and offices in the diaspora.

Amb. McCarthy expressed the concern while speaking at a press roundtable with Global Anti-corruption Coordinator Richard Nephew and USAID Anti-corruption Task Force Executive Director Shannon Green Tuesday, 14 March 2023 in Monrovia.

Amb. McCarthy said these Liberians in the U.S. are motivated by disruption and desire to break down trust in Liberian institutions without caring what damage they cause.