U.S. Intel Report Finds Saudi Crown Prince Responsible for Khashoggi Killing

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2018 (Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Reuters Handout)

The Biden administration released an intelligence report on Friday that finds Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman responsible for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi traveled in October 2018 to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in order to finalize papers relating to his marriage. A team of Saudi operatives killed Khashoggi in the consulate and reportedly dismembered his body in order to smuggle out the evidence.

“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report states. “Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control over the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.”

The report was compiled by the U.S. intelligence community during the Trump administration, but its release was delayed until now.

“We’ve made it clear that this administration will not sweep anything under the rug, and that President Biden will follow the law,” a senior administration official told Politico.

The U.S. Treasury will sanction General Ahmed al-Asiri, former deputy head of Saudi intelligence, over the killing, according to Politico. However, the Biden administration has decided not to sanction Crown Prince bin Salman himself, senior administration officials told The New York Times.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Friday that the State Department would begin implementing the “Khashoggi ban,” a set of visa restrictions on individuals believed to be working to harm dissidents or journalists on behalf of a foreign government.

As a matter of safety for all within our borders, perpetrators targeting perceived dissidents on behalf of any foreign government should not be permitted to reach American soil,” Blinken said in a statement.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.


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