Pompeo: Release of Khashoggi report by Biden admin ‘reckless’
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decried the Biden administration’s release of a declassified report regarding Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi on Sunday, calling the report’s release a “reckless” move.
Speaking on Fox News on Sunday, the former secretary of State under the Trump administration argued that the Biden administration had “political” motives for releasing the report and was bent on souring the U.S.-Saudi relationship over the issue.
“The release of this report was reckless. It was political. It was aimed at harming a relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the use of intelligence in a way that, as a former CIA director, I would have never stood for,” Pompeo said, adding, “So I regret that they chose to do this. It was a political stunt.”
“I regret that because this administration wants to develop a relationship with Iran and destroy one with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they chose to use intelligence to do that,” the former secretary continued.
Pompeo’s remarks are by far the strongest criticism by any former Trump administration official over the issue. Democrats have argued that the Biden administration has done more to hold the Saudi government accountable for Khashoggi’s death even while saying the White House could do more to punish Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other top officials said to be involved in the slaying.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons (Del.) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he was “optimistic” the Biden administration would do more to hold the Saudi government accountable for Khashoggi’s death down the line.
“I am optimistic that our role in terms of the war in Yemen, the accountability here for Khashoggi’s murder and other ways in which the U.S.-Saudi relationship may change will in fact deliver the accountability that I called for,” he said, adding that the U.S. was “recalibrating” its relationship with the kingdom.
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