Who owns Tier 1 security? Firm allegedly trained Jamal Khashoggi's killers a year before murder

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi died on October 2, 2018, and his death was allegedly ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman


                            Who owns Tier 1 security? Firm allegedly trained Jamal Khashoggi's killers a year before murder
People take part in a candle light vigil to remember journalist Jamal Khashoggi after his alleged murder by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The name of a US security company has been dragged in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a shocking new report by The New York Times, it has been stated that four Saudi Arabian operatives allegedly involved in the killing of Khashoggi were trained by the State-approved security agency. The primary motive behind the training was to upgrade the protection of Saudi Arabian royalty.

Since 2014, Arkansas-based company 'Tier 1 Security' reportedly provided paramilitary training to members of the Saudi Royal Guard and Saudi Rapid Intervention Group. The training was conducted with the approval of the US State Department under the Obama administration. Louis Bremer, a senior executive at Tier 1 Security's parent company, confirmed that the agency trained four members of the Khashoggi kill team in 2017. Moreover, two of the four members were trained earlier in 2014 and 2015 as well. 

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Khashoggi died on October 2, 2018, and his death was allegedly ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The information was revealed in a declassified intelligence report. The outspoken and rebellious journalist was attacked by an elite unit of seven Saudi Arabian operatives, who were appointed to protect the Crown Prince. 

Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Who owns Tier 1 Security?

Tier 1 Security Services was founded in 2012. The company boasts of being "one of the most respected professional organizations in the industry", with over two decades of experience in training both unarmed and armed security. 

The company is owned by renowned private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. Based in New York City, Cerberus was co-founded in 1992 by Stephen A Feinberg and William Richter. Presently, Feinberg serves as the co-founder and co-CEO while Richter holds the position of co-founder and senior managing director. According to the company's website, Cerberus currently holds over $53B in assets across the world, including the US and countries of Europe and Asia. With a personal net worth of $1.3B, founder Stephen Feinberg was named in the Forbes list of Richest People in Private Equity. 

Why did Tier 1 train Khashoggi's killers?

While it is not certain who were the four Khashoggi killers trained by Tier 1 Security, the group stated that their training was unrelated to his murder. Following the death of Khashoggi, a review of the training curriculum was conducted by Tier 1 Group where they found 'no wrongdoing'. 

Insider sources revealed to The New York Times that the training to Saudi Arabian agents included lessons in surveillance, close-quarters battle, safe marksmanship and counter-attacks. The NYT report further adds that the training was arranged after Saudi Arabia started kidnapping, torture and detainment of citizens under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's orders. 

However, the company authorities stated that they did not train any Saudi Arabian post December 2017. Meanwhile, Cerebrus executive Louis Bremer said, "T1G management, the board and I stand firmly with the US government, the American people and the international community in condemning the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi."

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