Senate

Dem senators request classified briefing on Khashoggi

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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 Sanders (Vt.) sent a letter on Tuesday to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats 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. 

{mosads}”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 Durbin (Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Ed Markey (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 Pompeo 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.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Brian Schatz Chris Van Hollen Dan Coats Dick Durbin Directive 191 Ed Markey Killing of Jamal Khashoggi Mike Pompeo Patrick Leahy Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Turkey U.S. Intelligence
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