November 15, 2018

Warren Seeks Answers from Major Consulting Firms about Services for Saudi Government

In Wake of Khashoggi Murder, Senator Requests Information on Booz Allen, Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte Consulting Services; Follows Letter Seeking Answers about McKinsey Work Saudi Arabia Reportedly Used to Suppress Critics

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC ­- United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Booz Allen Hamilton (Booz Allen), Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Deloitte requesting information on the scope of the services provided by the three consulting firms to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any Saudi government-affiliated entity.  The senator's letter asks the firms about their relationship with the Saudi government and questions their business with the Kingdom in the wake of its apparently premeditated assassination of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Senator Warren's letter cites the firms' own materials and public reports describing the significant business ties that Booz Allen, BCG, and Deloitte have with the Saudi government or affiliated entities.  

Booz Allen, which reportedly trains the Saudi Navy as it continues the war with Yemen, also advises the Saudi Army and has an agreement to protect the government's systems from cyberattacks.  BCG reportedly advises Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's foundation and has a contract to help overhaul the Saudi Defense Ministry's procurement systems and improve its handling of finances and personnel.  And Deloitte has a significant business presence in Saudi Arabia and remains a partner of Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative conference.

While acknowledging that Booz Allen and BCG have reportedly placed some limits on their work for the Saudi government, the senator's letter expressed concern about the firms' continued relationship with the government after Mr. Khashoggi's murder and the Saudi's ongoing military operations in Yemen that have contributed to that country's humanitarian disaster. 

"The government of Saudi Arabia brutally silences critics, including Jamal Khashoggi, and continues to engage in a bombing campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians, brought millions to the brink of starvation, and sparked near-worldwide condemnation," the senator wrote.  "Given the Kingdom's recent actions, your firms' continued business relationships with this government appear to be inconsistent not only with American values but with your stated principles."

In order to have a full, transparent accounting of the firms' consulting services to the Saudi government, Senator Warren asks a series of questions about the firms' consulting services contracts with the Saudi government and its affiliated entities between 2013 and 2018, and asks whether the firms intend to continue conducting business with Saudi Arabia given the government's pattern of behavior.  The senator requested that the firms respond to her questions by November 30, 2018.

Senator Warren's letter is her latest inquiry to the consulting industry about its services for the government of Saudi Arabia.  Last month, she sent a similar letter to McKinsey & Company to request a full, transparent accounting of how McKinsey's work may have enabled the Kingdom to repress critics and commit other human rights abuses. McKinsey has since been in contact with the senator's office and says they are working to provide answers to her inquiries.