Biden pick for Intel chief vows to release report on Khashoggi killing
Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, told a Senate panel Tuesday that if confirmed she would order the release of an unclassified report about the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
“Ms. Haines, if you are confirmed, you have an opportunity to immediately turn a page on the excessive secrecy and lawlessness of the outgoing administration,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Tuesday during Haines’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“Congress passed a law requiring the DNI to submit to Congress an unclassified report on who was responsible for the brutal murder of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi,” Wyden continued. “If you are confirmed, will you submit to Congress the unclassified report required by the law?”
“Absolutely, I will follow the law,” Haines replied.
Wyden in 2019 brokered a provision in the Intelligence Authorization Act requiring the release of a full report on Khashoggi’s death, but it was never released under the Trump administration.
“It was refreshing to hear a straightforward commitment to follow the law from DNI-nominee Haines, after a year of stonewalling by the Trump administration to conceal the identity of who ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder,” Wyden said in a statement following the hearing.
This is huge: Incoming DNI, Avril Haines, just committed to releasing an unclassified report on the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. For two years, I’ve been fighting for transparency and accountability for those responsible. We are closer than ever to getting #JusticeForJamal. pic.twitter.com/FNSarsF4Ce
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) January 19, 2021
Khashoggi was killed after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Numerous intelligence services have concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the journalist’s killing and dismemberment. While the crown prince has denied ordering the killing, the fallout has tarnished his image as a reformer who was intent on making changes such as expanding women’s rights in the kingdom.
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