Saudi Arabia rejects US intel report on Khashoggi demise

Ministry of Foreign Affairs says US intel claiming MBS authorized the hit on Khashoggi is ‘negative, false and unacceptable’.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected a report by US intelligence companies launched on Friday that assigns accountability to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Foreign Ministry stated in an announcement issued by the Saudi Press Agency.

The US intelligence group report, produced by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirms that US spy companies had concluded MBS “approved an operation” to seize or kill the Saudi journalist in Istanbul, Turkey.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad contained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His physique has by no means been recovered.

“This was an abhorrent crime and a flagrant violation of the Kingdom’s laws and values,” the ministry assertion stated.

“This crime was committed by a group of individuals that have transgressed all pertinent regulations and authorities of the agencies where they were employed,” the assertion stated.

“The concerned individuals were convicted and sentenced by the courts in the kingdom and these sentences were welcomed by the family of Jamal Khashoggi.”

AP 19170365989288Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks throughout a information convention on December 15, 2014, in Manama, Bahrain [File: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo]

The four-page US report, required by Congress, had been held again from public view by former President Donald Trump however was launched by new President Joe Biden who had pledged throughout his 2020 political marketing campaign to carry the Saudis accountable for Khashoggi’s homicide.

US spy companies, together with the CIA, based mostly their evaluation of MBS’s function on his “control of decision making” and the “direct involvement of a key adviser” and members of his “protective detail” within the operation.

Saudi Arabia has lengthy denied MBS had direct information of Khashoggi’s homicide.

After the report’s launch on Friday, the Biden administration officers introduced travel bans on 76 Saudi nationals and imposed monetary sanctions on Saudi Major General Ahmad Hassan Mohammad Asiri, an in depth confidant of MBS.

“It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the kingdom has clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the Kingdom’s leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again,” the Saudi assertion stated.

“The Kingdom rejects any measure that infringes upon its leadership, sovereignty, and the independence of its judicial system.”

Asked in regards to the Saudi denial of the report’s findings, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in Washington “the report speaks for itself” and the Biden administration is “trying to bring transparency to this issue and share with the American people what we know”.

The kingdom had given “multi-million-dollar houses” and “monthly five-figure payments” to Khashoggi’s 4 kids, in accordance with a 2019 report by The Washington Post, the US newspaper the place Khashoggi had been a columnist.

Khashoggi wrote in his final column earlier than he was killed in regards to the want for a free press within the Arab world.

“A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative,” Khashoggi stated.