The U.S. is expected to release a declassified intelligence report Friday that blames Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a U.S. resident with U.S. citizen children.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Oct. 2, 2018, and was killed by operatives linked to the crown prince. His body was dismembered, and his remains have never been found. Riyadh eventually admitted that Khashoggi was mistakenly killed in what it called a rogue operation but denied the crown prince’s involvement.
The role of the crown prince, often referred to by his initials, MBS, in Khashoggi’s death has been the subject of media reports since late 2018.
U.S. President Joe Biden talked with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Thursday. The White House said that during the call, Biden and Salman “discussed regional security, including the renewed diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to end the war in Yemen, and the U.S. commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups.”
The White House readout of the call noted the recent release of several Saudi-American activists and Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul from custody and affirmed the importance the U.S. places on universal human rights and the rule of law. It did not mention the report on Khashoggi.
The Trump administration rejected demands by lawmakers to release a declassified version of the report as the White House prioritized arms sales to the kingdom and alliance with Riyadh amid rising U.S. tensions with Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, Iran.