US report on murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi expected 'soon'

US report on murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi expected 'soon'
The White House on Wednesday said an intelligence report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will be released "soon".
2 min read
24 February, 2021
Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in 2018 [Getty]
A US intelligence report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul will be out "soon," the White House said on Wednesday.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden was also "soon" due to speak with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

Psaki would not confirm a report in Axios that the Biden call with Salman would take place on Wednesday and that the unclassified intelligence report would be published on Thursday.

Khashoggi, a Saudi who wrote for The Washington Post and was a US resident, was killed and dismembered in 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The CIA has directly linked Saudi Arabia's de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder. He has accepted overall responsibility, as his country's leader, but denies a personal link.

King Salman and his powerful son Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman enjoyed positive ties under the Donald Trump presidency, which refused to publish an intelligence report on the Khashoggi murder.

But under the Biden administration, the newly-appointed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said she will release the CIA's findings "without delay”.

Since taking over the presidency in January Biden has stressed he will "recalibrate" the US relationship with Saudi Arabia.

This will mean steering away from former president Donald Trump's reliance on Prince Mohammed and dealing directly with the king, the White House says.

Former CIA chief, John Brennan, said in October that Trump and his senior advisor, Jared Kushner, had "given MBS… a pass for that horrific murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi" by failing to hold Riyadh to account.

Read also: Saudi ex-spymaster Saad al-Jabri files new assassination complaint against MbS

The 85-year-old king has denied any involvement in the killing but accepted responsibility as the kingdom's leader.

According to a report by The Washington Post in November 2018, the CIA concluded that Saudi Arabia's crown prince directly ordered the killing.

Agnès Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said in February 2019 that evidence collected from Turkey shows Khashoggi's assassination was "a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated”.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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