Will US intelligence have to release a recording and report on Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination public? The Open Society foundation felt it had obtained a first step in this direction, after a federal judge ordered the intelligence services on Tuesday to recognize the existence of these exhibits.
The Open Society Justice Initiative, the legal arm of the foundation of American billionaire George Soros, had attacked the CIA and other American intelligence agencies in civil cases for failing to act on his Freedom of Information request. Act, guaranteeing freedom of information. She asked to see all their documents related to the assassination of the Saudi journalist and dissident at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
Trump had spoken about it publicly
The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in particular, had rejected the request, citing exemptions related to national security for not confirming the very existence of these documents. But New York federal judge Paul Engelmayer said on Tuesday that, since this recording and this report had been very publicly mentioned by the Trump administration, this pithy rejection was not enough. He ordered the intelligence to formally acknowledge its existence by listing it in an “index” and to explain, “within two weeks”, on what legal grounds it should continue to keep it secret.
The judge notably cited remarks by Donald Trump at the end of 2018, in which the president acknowledged that the United States “had the recording” and indicated that the CIA, after investigation, had “not concluded” to the responsibility of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salman.
The judge’s decision does not order the disclosure of these potentially key elements in this spectacular assassination. But according to Amrit Singh, a lawyer for the Open Society Justice Initiative, Tuesday’s decision constitutes “a vital step to end impunity” which she said benefited the prince and other officials.
Jamal Khashoggi, who lived in the United States and was a contributor to the daily The Washington Post, was murdered and his body cut into pieces at the consulate, where he went to retrieve a document. His remains have never been found.
His murder caused a serious diplomatic crisis with Riyadh and tarnished the image of the crown prince, named by Turkish officials as the sponsor of the murder.