In light of the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, we take a look back at an interview with CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who singled out Saudi Arabia for its role in creating radical extremism in the Middle East.

During the September interview with Mint Press News, Kiriakou — the 2015 winner of the PEN Center’s “First Amendment Award” — explains that the United States’ relationship with the House of Saud started with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943, who declared at the time that the defense of Saudi Arabia was vital for the defense of the United States. A deal was struck in which Saudi Arabia gave the U.S. control of its airspace and access to its oil fields. In return, the Saudi government gained control over the oil market and access to U.S. military hardware, Kiriakou explains.

Since the deal was made, Saudi Arabia has been behind the rise of radical groups such as Islamic State, Kiriakou says.

“I have always believed that Saudi Arabia was the primary generator and creator of radicals and radical movements in not just the region but around the world,” Kiriakou explains. “It’s not just the government that supports this extremism. It’s the entire structure of government and society in Saudi Arabia.”

To learn exactly how the Saudis helped foster extremism, watch the full interview below:

— Posted by Donald Kaufman and Jenna Berbeo

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