WASHINGTON – The Society of Professional Journalists appreciates that the U.S. intelligence report on the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was publicly released today. But it is too little too late.
The report, confirming what many suspected, that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, should have been released sooner and the crown prince should have already been held accountable.
“Many Americans have now read — and all should read — the four-page declassified intelligence report on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Matthew T. Hall, SPJ national president. “Seeing its conclusions in print under government letterhead make me angry all over again. This reprehensible action needs a strong response from the Biden administration. We appreciate Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s recent assurances that ‘a range of actions’ are ‘on the table.’ But we hope the president chooses one quickly and decisively to send the message to Saudi Arabian leaders and people everywhere that the killing of a journalist is unacceptable anywhere on this planet.”
The report concludes that Crown Prince Mohammed approved the operation that led to the killing of Khashoggi, whose Washington Post column had criticized the crown prince’s policies. The report states, “The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him.”
SPJ is outraged that no one has been held accountable for Khashoggi’s killing for so long. We will continue to push for justice for Khashoggi.
After awaiting the public release of the report, SPJ expects the Biden administration to take steps to hold the Saudi government accountable for this heinous crime. We hope there will be continued efforts to uphold press freedom worldwide and not let any person or nation get away with violence toward journalists, who are essential to a civilized society.
Khashoggi was posthumously honored as a Fellow of the Society, SPJ’s highest professional honor, in 2019.