President George Weah flanked by Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Kameyah on the move upon arrival in the US
–Gov’t. Remains Mute on ‘Strange US Visit’
IPNEWS-Monrovia: On Friday, March 17, 2023 the Executive Mansion through a press statement told Liberians that President George Weah and a select members of the Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, Justice Minister Cllr. Musah Dean, National Defense Minister Maj. Gen (Rtd). Daniel Ziankahn, Commerce Minister Mawine Diggs, Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, and the Commissioner of Liberia Maritime Authority, Eugene Lenn Nagbe, departed Liberia for international engagements in the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates.
The release said as part of his engagements, the Liberian Leader was scheduled to meet with key United Arab Emirates (UAE) and US government officials, Liberia’s development partners, and would-be investors.
A day later, Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby in an interview with a local daily told Liberians that President Weah’s visit to the UAE was in furtherance of previous visits by President Weah to that Gulf nation, to do follow-ups on promises made to Liberia by the UAE.
President Weah being welcomed by Liberia Ambassador officials as a little girl presents a flowers upon arrival in the US
Few days later, President Weah was seen arriving in the United States via an Executive Mansion live feed screened on its Official Facebook page. But since then, there has been no reports from the President’s Communication Team surrounding the details of his visit to the United States of America sparking lots of speculations from Liberians who have continued to ask questions regarding President Weah’s latest visit to the United States, Liberia’s number one ally.
Rumors of CIA Director William Burns’ ‘Secret Visit’ to Liberia
Prior to President Weah’s latest visit to the United States of America, rumors swamped the air that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America, William Burns secretly visited Liberia and held discussions with President George Weah and other national security authorities on issues that were said to be against the interests of the United States government. IPNEWS could not confirm the speculation relating to the reported visit of the CIA Director to Liberia.
CIA Director William J. Burns being sworn in 2021. He is said to have visited Liberia this year
Though there were no details released to the public, neither did the Government of Liberia confirm nor deny the rumors but remained tight-lipped, there were speculations that following discussion with President Weah, the CIA Director reportedly extended an invitation to the Liberian leader to visit Langley in Virginia, USA for further discussions on issues that affect the interests of the US government, where is it believed Liberia under the George Weah’s leadership is accused of allegedly playing a key role against the interests of the United States government.
Up to the date of President Weah and his delegation departure for the UAE and the United States, the Liberian government did not respond to the speculations and even after arrival in the US, the Government still remains mute.
Former Assistant Foreign Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs, George Wisner Expresses Concerns over President Weah’s ‘Strange’ Visit to the US
In his letter written on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 to the Editor of one of Liberia’s local dailies, FrontPage Africa, former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs George Wisner wrote that the reported invitation to President Weah and his Minister of Justice by Langley (CIA Headquarters) and not the State Department or the White House is a ‘strange one’.
According to him, “I have been around diplomatic circles for some time now (including 4 years of active duty as head of the largest Bureau within Foreign Affairs). I am finding it difficult to see a precedent in recent years. Even during the days of Mobutu Sese Sekou of Zaire (a loyal asset of Langley), no invite came directly from the CIA.”
Former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs George Wisner expresses concern over President Weah’s latest visit to the United States calls it ‘a strange one’
Former Assistant Foreign Minister Wisner adds, “Some have argued that perhaps the CIA is looking to cut a deal with Weah as the geopolitical rivalry intensifies between East and West and as the US re-evaluates its strategic interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. I also find this other theory strange. Spy Agencies, recruiting an Asset do not expose that Asset in the way the invite to Weah exposes him to suspicion amongst his peers. Moreover, Spy Agency seldom exposes their intentions so openly in the way the open invite to Weah does.”
Wisner who also served as Executive Director of the National Investment Commission (NIC) during former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration wonders, “Could this invite to President Weah, which also includes his Attorney, the Minister of Justice, be to confront him with irrefutable evidence of money laundering (which President Biden declared as a National Security threat to the US) for which some of his key lieutenants have been sanctioned by the US? Allegations of money laundering were also raised by the Kroll report into the investigation into the USD25 million mop-up fiasco.”
Wisner’s letter to FPA further states, “There have also been allegations of rampant corruption by key actors of both the US Congress and the Executive Branch of Government, notably amongst which is the kleptomaniac label ascribed to the Weah regime by Representative Chris Smith of the US Congress. Then there are also numerous mysterious and suspicious murders in which the Weah regime has been complicit.”
“Could the objective of the invite be to read to Weah the Riot’s Act? Could it be a carrot and stake to exact compliance on some matter deemed extremely important to the US interest?” the former Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister asks in his missive to FPA.
Concluding his letter to FrontPage Africa, Wisner admonishes the government to inform the citizenry who need to know why President Weah is visiting the Unites States at this point in time. “Whatever the case, President Weah and his Government must come clean with the Liberian people. The Liberian people need to know the nature of the invitation to Langley as well as the outcome of such an unusual invitation.”
Who Is CIA Director William J. Burns?
William Burns is one of the most experienced American diplomats, to have been appointed as Director of the Central Intelligent Agency (CIA) of the world’s number one Super Power, the United States of America. Following his appointment, it was reported that Burns’ agenda is to intensify the agency’s focus on China – the biggest threat to the US global domination.
William Burns was confirmed on March 18 by a bipartisan US Senate vote as the new chief of the world’s most powerful spy agency. The 64-year old bureaucrat’s credentials inspired confidence in both Republicans and Democrats.
During his three decade career at the State Department, Burns has become known for his backchannel diplomacy with Washington’s fiercest enemies. He has also previously served as US ambassador to Russia – one of the most challenging posts an American diplomat can experience.
United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William J. Burns
It is reported that the Russians would have liked to see him as Secretary of State, but he ended up as CIA director, a post which is sometimes regarded as a pit stop before becoming America’s top diplomat. Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State, was also CIA director prior to his confirmation as leader of the State Department.
Burns’ friends describe him as both mild-mannered and modest. When he was working as a young officer in the State Department, then-Secretary of State James Baker offered him an ambassadorship, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Burns, whose father was a top general in the US army and later also became a top bureaucrat, overseeing the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the late 1980s under the Ronald Reagan administration, declined the offer.
“I need to earn my spurs the right way,” he told Baker, according to Richard Armitage, a friend and a former high-ranking diplomat. Several decades later, he seems to have earned his “spurs” after a unanimous Senate vote.
As a result, many experts believe that US intelligence should focus on the capabilities of nation-states like China rather than concentrating on counter-espionage operations, as has happened for the last two decades, in order to deal with terrorist threats.
Burns appears to be one of the best candidates to lead that transition from counter-espionage to traditional intelligence gathering.
Liberians Demand Information Ministry and Executive Mansion to Speak on Pres. Weah’s Visit to America
As the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism and the Executive Mansion remain tight-lipped on the latest visit of the President George Weah to the United States of America, several Liberians via various radio talk shows call-in programs have asked the Government of the Liberia to speak to the country about the President’s visit to the America in the wake of mounting speculations that he was invited by the Central Intelligent Agency (CIA) of the US to be investigated over “a plethora of international crimes obtaining in Liberia.”
President George Weah upon arrival in the United States
There are mounting public speculations that the CIA is allegedly investigating President Weah in connection to alleged activities occurring in Liberia against the interests of the United States but IPNEWS cannot independently confirm these speculations as well as the purpose of the President’s visit to the United States, as the Ministry of Information and the Executive Mansion continue to remain silent on these claims and speculations emanating from the Liberian public via radio talk shows call-in programs.
Almost every caller on OK FM 99.5 Morning Rush Show asked the Liberian government through the Ministry of Information and the Executive Mansion to speak to Liberians and disclose the purpose of President Weah’s latest trip to the United States since he and delegation are using tax payers’ monies to facilitate their trip to the United States.
“It is very strange for President Weah to travel to America and the Ministry of Information or the Executive Mansion refuse to tell Liberians the actual purpose of his visit, except for one line in the Executive Mansion previous press release that ‘President Weah will hold discussions with US government officials, Liberia’s development partners, and would-be investors’, but there are no photos on the Executive Mansion or the Ministry of Information official Facebook Pages or Websites to indicate if the President is indeed holding those discussions that they talked about in the previous press release,” one caller wondered.
Another caller averred and later asked, “The more the Government through the Information Ministry and the Executive Mansion communication teams continue to remain silent there will be more public speculations about President Weah’s visit to the United States. Why are they not telling Liberians the about what is going on? Is it true that the President is allegedly being investigated by the CIA and for what reason if it is true, does the government feel embarrass to tell Liberians”?
Executive Mansion Chief of Protocol, Amb. Nora Finda Bundoo leads the way for President Weah’s arrival in the US
But some supporters of ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who called on the OK FM 99.5 Morning Rush Show refuted the public speculations that President Weah is being investigated by the CIA on his current visit to America. “Our President is on an official trip in the interest of Liberia, but his detractors are spewing lies and misinformation that he is being investigated by the CIA for alleged activities against the interest of the United States. We believe our President will bring back home good dividends from his latest visit to the US.”
President Weah and CIA in Security Meeting
The IPNEWS reliable learned that on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 President George Weah and a handful of his officials sat down for a highly-touted security meeting with top brass of the US Central Intelligence Agency at Langley at the CIA headquarters in Virginia.
A source in the know to the surroundings of the discussions also told a local daily FrontPage Africa (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 that ‘a gag order’ was placed on the briefing, meaning the details of what was discussed is off reach from 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.
Liberia’s US Embassy staff prior to President Weah’s arrival in the United States of America
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.
Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie – His Ministry is tight-lipped on the purpose of President Weah’s visit to the United States
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, which a senior administration official has dismissed when the media made inquiries.
Political Pundits Weigh in Their Thoughts
Meanwhile, political pundits who have been following the latest developments regarding President George Weah’s latest visit to the United States have also called on the Liberian government not to keep its people in doubt, otherwise there will be more speculations on the President’s visit.
“It is better to tell the people what is going on than to keep mute and keep them in doubt. If the President is visiting America to hold discussions with the US government officials on national security issues affecting America’s interest in Liberia and around the world, tell the people let them know that these are all part of governance but to remain quiet in the midst of mounting speculations only muddies the waters politically for the government,” one Pundit told IPNEWS.
Bookmakers are keenly waiting and watching as things unfold.