President Joe Biden called it “outrageous” that Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed off on the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden said in an interview with Univision News that he had told Saudi King Salman this week “that the rules are changing” in the kingdom’s relationship with the U.S. and that “we’re going to be announcing significant changes today and on Monday.”
The Biden administration on Friday released a partially redacted report the Trump administration had withheld from the public revealing that the U.S. intelligence committee believed the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi’s October 2018 murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report concluded.
“We immediately, when I got in, filed the report, read it, got it, and released it today,” Biden said. “And it is outrageous what happened.”
The report builds on classified intelligence from the CIA and other agencies after Khashoggi’s murder.
“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.
The decision to release the report, compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, reflects the Biden administration’s determination to recalibrate relations with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, over its human rights record.