In an article at The Washington Post newspaper, the famous investigations journalists Bob Woodward said that the late King Hussein of Jordan had been secretly receiving millions of dollars from the CIA for two decades.
The report was first published in February 1977, and re-published by the newspaper again, after the release of documents from the CIA recently on the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, which mentioned a secret love affair of King Hussein's with Hollywood actress Susan Cabot that was set by the Central intelligence agency.
Even when it came to President Ford's knowledge of the intelligence watchdog — which Ford had set up to track the deviant behavior of the intelligence community — he didn’t stop.
King Hussein's last payment was $ 750,000, whoever President Carter ordered the payments to be stopped when he learned, according to the information that Woodward revealed.
US intelligence has kept a secret from several American figures, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and even George HW Bush when he headed the CIA.
Informed sources said that Carter was furious when it was discovered, and appointed Admiral Stansfield Turner as the new head of intelligence in an effort to curb abuses of power within the world's most powerful intelligence agency.
In addition, it seems that the Senate Intelligence Committee set up to oversee the CIA didn’t see the full story of the Ford administration.
The report confirmed that the payment of funds to King Hussein was one of the most sensitive activities of the CIA, carrying the project name «No Beef».
The payments were received in cash by the head of the Central Intelligence Branch in Amman.
To justify this, the CIA claimed that Hussein had allowed the Agency to operate freely in his country in the Middle East.
King Hussein provided important information to the CIA and sent money to other government officials who provided intelligence or collaborated with the CIA.
King Hussein did not see anything wrong with it and considered it part of US aid to his country.
King Hussein is on fire
The CIA regarded the project as one of its most successful operations — Woodward adds — and gave the United States considerable influence over the leader of a sovereign state.
King Hussein received the first batch in 1957 at the age of twenty-one.
The value of initial payments appears to be in the millions of dollars, but has shrunk sharply to $ 750,000 later.
In that period — Woodward continues — Jordan was under the wing of the United States and Prince Hussein — then — had enough money to support his lifestyle, known as the «Prince Flirt».
King Hussein was known for his passion for sports cars and planes.
Other reports have indicated that the CIA provided Hussein with good companions and personal guards for his children at school.
King Hussein has maintained friendly relations with the United States, and his country receives significant military and economic assistance.
But these payments were outside the traditional channel of military and economic aid.
However, the United States has failed to control Jordan's public policy — Woodward points out.
Some sources said he was not a puppet, but he was seldom drifting out of orbit.
The CIA underwent numerous government investigations into alleged abuses in the mid-1970s. In 1976, President Ford directed the restructuring of the intelligence community.
One of the objectives of the Executive Order on the formation of the Intelligence Control Board was «to report in a timely manner to the President about any activities that raise serious questions about intelligence work».
The then prosecutor issued a report on the scandal, describing it as inappropriate.
The committee appointed by Ford included former Undersecretary of State Robert D. Murphy, former army secretary Stephen Eiles, and publisher Liu Sheren.
The Commission submitted a formal report to President Ford on the project and concluded that it was illegal.
But Ford did not order any action.
Woodward asserts that Jordan has influence over the Palestinians and is one of the key elements of any lasting peace settlement in the Middle East.
Geographically, Jordan occupies a strategic position, sharing borders with Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
King Hussein's decisions have often been largely in line with US and Israeli interests — Woodward says.
For example, he expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization from Jordan in 1970, and in 1973, Hussein refused to join the Arab war against Israel.
Many see King Hussein's 24-year reign in a war-torn region like the Middle East as a miracle, and he has also faced repeated internal conflicts and at least 12 assassination attempts.