Craig Unger in 2008
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Craig Unger is an American journalist and writer. He has served as deputy editor of the New York Observer and was editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine. He has written about George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush for The New Yorker, Esquire Magazine and Vanity Fair. He has written about the Romney family and Hart InterCivic.
Early life and education
On April 11, 2004, Unger wrote an op-ed for the Boston Globe demanding answers from the 9/11 Commission on who gave permission for Saudi nationals to leave the United States. He repeated the theme in his 2004 book, House of Bush, House of Saud, that was also featured in Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11: "Is it possible that President Bush himself played a role in authorizing the evacuation of the Saudis after 9/11?" Unger reportedly traced $1.4 billion in investments by the Saudis to friends and business organizations closely associated with the Bush family.
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff had harsh criticism of the $1.4 billion figure, the Saudi connection, and the flights out of the U.S. According to Isikoff: "Nearly 90 percent of that amount, $1.18 billion, comes from just one source: contracts in the early to mid-1990s that the Saudi Arabian government awarded to a U.S. defense contractor, BDM, for training the country's military and National Guard." According to Newsweek, George W. Bush could not have been involved with the Carlyle Group, which owned BDM, when the $1.18 billion deal was made, because "former president Bush didn't join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998—five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm."
On his website, Unger replied that Isikoff wrongly suggests that the Bush family and its allies had little or no relationship with the Carlyle Group until 1998. "If that were true, he might have a point."
But in fact, the Bush-Carlyle relationship began eight years earlier when the Carlyle Group put George W. Bush on the board of one of its subsidiaries, Caterair, in 1990. In 1993, after the Bush-Quayle administration left office and George H. W. Bush and James Baker were free to join the private sector, the Bush family's relationship with the Carlyle Group began to become substantive. By the end of that year, key figures at the Carlyle Group included such powerful Bush colleagues as James Baker, Frank Carlucci, and Richard Darman. Because George W. Bush's role at Carlyle had been marginal, the $1.4 billion figure includes no contracts that predated the arrival of Baker, Carlucci and Darman at Carlyle. With former Secretary of Defense Carlucci guiding the acquisition of defense companies, Carlyle finally began making real money from the Saudis, both through investments from the royal family, the bin Ladens and other members of the Saudi elite, and through lucrative defense investments.
Isikoff also argued there was nothing extraordinary about the evacuation of the Saudis because Tampa International Airport had reopened. Unger disagreed, noting, "Commercial aviation slowly resumed on September 13, but at 10:57 am that day, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen stating that private aviation was still banned. Three planes violated that order and were forced down by American military aircraft that day. Yet the Saudis were allowed to fly on the ten passenger Learjet. … The Tampa to Lexington flight is vital because it required permission from the highest levels of our government. If it were just another normal flight, why would anyone go to a crisis-stricken White House to get permission for the Saudis to fly?"
Unger's 2007 book The Fall of the House of Bush is about the internal feud in the Bush family and the rise and collusion of the neoconservative and Christian right in Republican party politics, viewing each group's world view and efforts concerning present and potential future US policy through a distinctly negative prism. In his previous work, House of Bush, House of Saud explored the relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud.
In his 2018 book, In House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, Unger tells about links existing between the Russian mafia, Vladimir Putin and the Trump Organization. In the book, he named 59 Russians as long-term business associates of Donald Trump
- Blue Blood (1989)
- House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties (2004) ASIN B000FC1BKG
- The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future (2007) ASIN B000W938X0
- American Armageddon (2008)
- Boss Rove (2012)
- When Women Win: EMILY's List and the Rise of Women in American Politics (2016), with Ellen Malcolm
- House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia (2018) ISBN 978-1524743505
Notes and references
- "Hart Intercivic". Salon. October 23, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- "Unasked questions". Boston Globe. April 11, 2004. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- "House of Bush, House of Saud". Archived from the original on April 3, 2004. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- Kennedy, Sharon. "Tampa Bay, Florida news | Tampa Bay Times/St. Pete Times". Saintpetersburgtimes.com. Archived from the original on July 1, 2004. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC 820AM, Interview with Craig Unger, November 27, 2007.
- Donald Trump Is a 'Russian Asset' Owned by the Mafia, Author Claims in New Book, by Nina Burleigh, NewsWeek
- Signs of Trump-Putin collaboration, starting years before the campaign? by Shane Harris, The Washington Post
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