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I'll leave it to others to defend Hume Horan's specific actions regarding Saudi acquisition of the missiles. However, the real reason he was asked to depart was his incredible knowledge of the Saud family, the internal politics of Saudi Arabia and his willingness to meet with (and listen to) Saudi's of all political persuasions. He was (still is) the best Arabist the State Department produced for 30 years. His Arabic is nothing short of astounding and was often cited as one of the reasons the Saud family wanted him out. He spoke, I have heard it said, better Arabic that they. I do know his hobbies include translating 8th and 9th century Arabic poetry. I have personally witnessed his linguistic and political skills when I was the US Ambassador in Khartoum. It was always a joy to travel with Hume anywhere in the Arabic speaking world. In short order he would have ferreted out interesting people with non-official points of view which he would sift in assessing the local political situation. Finally, he was one of the two or three best writers in the foreign service. A telegram from Horan would often end up in the Secretary of State's evening reading folder not because it held some nugget about a foreign policy crisis but because it was so well written. We would all be far better served today if Hume had remained as Ambassador in Saudi Arabia. Ambassador David Fischer Diplomat in Residence San Francisco State University