Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved the murder of Virginia-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a newly released U.S. intelligence report states.
The Biden administration’s release of the Feb. 11 report, prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, marks a dramatic turn in the U.S.-Saudi alliance, which under President Trump had stepped carefully in statements concerning Khashoggi’s death.
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report’s summary says.
The central conclusion of the report was widely expected given that intelligence officials were said to have reached it soon after the brutal Oct. 2, 2018, murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authoritarian consolidation of power.
President Biden spoke on Thursday with Saudi King Salman ahead of the release of the redacted report implicating his son — but a White House readout of the call did not mention Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist who was murdered and then dismembered in 2018 after being lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The public assignment of responsibility to the 35-year-old crown prince is likely to set the tone for the new administration’s relationship with a country Biden has criticized but which the White House also regards as a strategic partner.
With Post wires