Whether by accident or by design, most of the Americans killed in Monday's terrorist strikes in Riyadh worked for Vinnell Corporation, a division of the giant defense contractor Northrop Grumman.The Los Angeles Times reports, "Of the hundreds of U.S. firms operating in Saudi Arabia, perhaps none is more important to the royal family than the Vinnell, which trains the National Guard."The National Guard, 100,000 strong, is tasked with protecting the royal, ruling House of Saud. Crown Prince Abdullah, the country's de facto ruler, is head of the National Guard, the Times notes."Vinnell has about 800 employees in Riyadh, 300 of whom are American. Most of the Americans are retired military personnel," according to the paper. The company's website tells prospective employees that they can "continue to do you what you did in the military."The firm has been hit by terrorists before. In 1995, a car bomb struck a military training facility, killing seven Vinnell employees.THERE'S MORE: "The United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia said today that the United States sought unsuccessfully to persuade the Saudi government to tighten security around residential compounds in Riyadh before Monday night's attacks," the New York Times reports.
The ambassador, Robert W. Jordan, said the request had been prompted by intelligence reports that by late last month had indicated that militants might be in the final stages of planning a terrorist attack."As soon as we learned of this particular threat information, we contacted the Saudi government," Ambassador Jordan said on the CBS program "The Early Show.""We continue to work with the Saudis on this, but they did not, as of the time of this tragic event, provide the additional security we requested."