Photo by Matias Lynch

The Biden administration released an intelligence report on Feb. 26 which concluded that the Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammad bin Salman had a hand in killing Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018. However, the federal government did not place sanctions on the prince.

“We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi,” the report states.

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The four-page report was declassified on Friday and confirmed what many already suspected about the future Saudi king. It also says that officials who worked closely with Salman’s advisor, typically referred to as MBS, and seven of the prince’s security personnel were involved in the murder.

Although other men carried out the crime, the report details the prince’s decision-making authority.

“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization,” it says.

Salman is also highly supportive of violent means to silence his greatest critics. 


Saudi Arabia is an important U.S. ally and the Biden administration says they hope to recalibrate their relationship with the country instead of rupture it. Biden has decided to declassify the intelligence report and place limitations and visa restrictions on Saudi officials. 

“I think that we have to understand as well that this is bigger than any one person. This recalibration goes to the policies that Saudi Arabia is pursuing, and the actions it has taken,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a news conference.

But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff does not agree. He thinks that Salman should be punished directly. 

“I would like to see the administration go beyond what it has announced in terms of repercussions to make sure there are repercussions directly to the crown prince,” said Schiff.

“To me it’s discordant … to go after those who followed the orders but not who gave the orders.”

Written ByAshley Grams

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