Dem senators request classified briefing on Khashoggi
© Getty Images

Democratic senators are requesting a classified briefing about what the U.S. intelligence community knew about threats to slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Seven Democratic senators and independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (Vt.) sent a letter on Tuesday to Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThis week: Democrats churn toward next phase of impeachment fight 281 lobbyists have worked in Trump administration: report Former intelligence chief Coats rejoins law firm MORE requesting the briefing. They also said they want to know if the intelligence community warned the U.S.-based journalist about threats to his life. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Congress must understand the circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance. In order to fulfill our oversight obligation, we request a classified briefing regarding the implementation of the duty to warn determinations articulated in Intelligence Community Directive 191 ... and its specific application to the Jamal Khashoggi case," the senators wrote. 

The directive outlines when and how the intelligence community will warn individuals or groups about specific threats regarding death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping. 

Senators, in the letter to Coats, said the directive is a "clear message" that the government takes threats seriously. 

They noted that The Washington Post reported that the U.S. government had intercepted communications from Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi. 

"Questions regarding whether Mr. Khashoggi was notified of known threats to his life have raised serious concerns. ... The Intelligence Community must clearly account for any known threats levied against Mr. Khashoggi and whether the Directive was triggered appropriately and followed accordingly," the senators added.

Tuesday's letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFive things to watch at Supreme Court's DACA hearings Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (Ill.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war GAO reviewing Trump hold on Ukraine military aid Democrats unveil proposal for 'millionaires surtax' MORE (Md.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCongress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans Booker introduces bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer MORE (Hawaii), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' MORE (Minn.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid States, green groups challenge rollback of Obama-era lightbulb rules Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill MORE (Mass.), as well as Sanders. 

In addition to a classified briefing, senators are asking for information on how many times individuals have been warned of threats under Directive 191. They also want an updated intelligence assessment on Saudi Arabia. 

Khashoggi, a opinion contributor to The Washington Post, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get paperwork needed for his marriage and is believed to have been murdered on the scene. 

The Saudi government initially said Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he arrived. They acknowledged on Oct. 19 that he was killed inside the consulate and that 18 Saudis had been arrested. 

The explanation from the Saudi government has been criticized by a number of senators in both parties, who have questioned the level of involvement by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudis have said that the crown prince known as MBS was not aware of a plan to intercept Khashoggi, but some senators have questioned how that could be possible.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoDemocrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings Pompeo condemns 'deplorable' killings of Iraqi protesters Trump-appointed State Department official embellished her résumé, made fake Time cover: report MORE said last week that the U.S. is revoking visas for several Saudi officials in retaliation for the incident, and would be considering future sanctions against the country.