Why US intelligence should release any Khashoggi files

Jameel Jaffer and Joel Simon
January 18, 2019

From the moment journalist Jamal Khashoggi was executed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October, President Donald Trump has been running interference for the Saudi government and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. He has baselessly attributed Khashoggi's killing to rogue actors, denigrated the value of investigations and amplified the prince's self-serving denials. Trump has shown himself so willing to cover for the prince that late last year the Senate felt compelled to pass an extraordinary resolution that directly condemned the monarch-in-waiting for the murder.

But with the president seemingly committed to shielding those responsible for this appalling crime, condemnation is not enough. Human rights and press freedom organizations have called on Turkey to ask UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to conduct a full investigation into the killing, and US legislators should support that call. At the same time, Congress and the US courts should require the executive branch to release files that show what, if anything, the administration knew about Saudi plans to harm the journalist, what the intelligence agencies have since learned about his murder and whether the White House is acting in concert with the Saudi regime to protect the perpetrators.

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