WASHINGTON —The Office of the Director of National Intelligence today released a long-suppressed report on the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. The Trump administration refused to release an unclassified version of the report, though federal law required it to. The new Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, said at her confirmation hearing that her office would “follow the law” by releasing an unclassified version of the report to Congress.
“The Biden administration must hold the Saudi regime accountable for this brutal crime, and it should begin by banning the Crown Prince from the United States,” said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director. “It’s important that U.S. intelligence agencies examine their own actions as well. They should disclose what they knew about the Saudis’ plans for Khashoggi, when they learned it, and whether and how they carried out their ‘duty to warn’ the journalist that his life was in danger. They should also disclose what reforms have been put in place to ensure that they fulfill their ‘duty to warn’ other journalists and advocates who may face similar threats in the future.”
In late 2018, the Knight Institute and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) filed FOIA requests for records showing whether U.S. intelligence agencies fulfilled their "duty to warn" Khashoggi of threats to his life and liberty. After the intelligence agencies failed to release documents in response to the organizations’ FOIA requests, the Knight Institute and CPJ filed a lawsuit. CPJ appeared before the D.C. Circuit in the case earlier this year. (The Knight Institute is not involved in the appeal.) Read more here.
Earlier this week, the Knight Institute, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, and CPJ sponsored a panel discussion and a screening of The Dissident, a new documentary that explores the human rights, press freedom, and surveillance issues raised by Khashoggi’s murder. The event featured Agnès S. Callamard, Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, and Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. A video recording is available here.
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