The Biden administration is expected to release a declassified version of a U.S. intelligence report from 2018 on Thursday that concludes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a report from Reuters and NBC News.
According to the report, “The intelligence assessment, based largely on work by the CIA, is not new, but rather made available to the public. The same report was present by the CIA to the White House in 2018, but the Trump administration did nothing to address Khashoggi’s murder with the Saudi officials.”
The non-redacted release is expected to alter U.S.-Saudi relations and breaks away from Trump’s policy of equivocating about the Saudi state’s role in the brutal murder.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that Biden, unlike Trump, would communicate with the Saudi king, as opposed to his son the crown prince. A new step for foreign relations from Biden officials, who have been engaging with the Saudis on several issues since taking office, according to the State Department.
Biden has also ended American support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, but has yet to cut off funding in the region.
Khashoggi, 59, was a Saudi citizen working as a Washington Post columnist. He was invited to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018 and killed by a team of intelligence operatives with close ties to the crown prince. A recording confirmed Khashoggi’s body was dismembered with a bone saw, and his remains have never been found.
The Saudi’s initially denied involvement with Khashoggi’s death, but reversed their stance by saying the journalist was killed by accident. The royal family said that the team acted on its own and that the crown prince was not involved.
Eight men were convicted in a trial, and five of them got the death penalty. However, they received commuted sentences of 20 years each after being forgiven by Khashoggi’s relatives.