Dem senators request classified briefing on Khashoggi

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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBrown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Gillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices MORE (Vt.) sent a letter on Tuesday to Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDems zero in on Trump and Russia National security center launches program to help US firms guard against foreign hackers House Dems unveil election security, voting measures in sweeping anti-corruption bill 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. 

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"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 DurbinTrump AG pick: I won't be 'bullied' by anyone, including the president Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Senate Dems set to take aim at new Trump attorney general pick MORE (Ill.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenLeaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight McConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time Dems struggling to help low-wage contractors harmed by shutdown MORE (Md.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzAction on climate and energy: Beyond partisan talking points Dem senator jokes about holding drinking game for Trump's primetime address Marriott says data breach impacted fewer guests, but millions of passport numbers were exposed MORE (Hawaii), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBarr: It would be a crime for president to pardon someone in exchange for their silence Barr says Trump won't be allowed to 'correct' Mueller report Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing MORE (Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony Klobuchar dismisses mock campaign logo as something from 'very enthusiastic supporter' Grandson's note to Barr during confirmation hearing goes viral MORE (Minn.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Watchdog investigating EPA enforcement numbers | EPA's Wheeler faces Senate grilling | Interior's offshore drilling staff returning to work during shutdown EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Ocasio-Cortez, progressives express disappointment with climate panel 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 PompeoGOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Iran conducts failed satellite launch, despite US warning White House announces reduced delegation to travel to Davos amid shutdown 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.