Mr. Khashoggi was suffocated and dismembered with a bone saw inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. The 15 killers included seven members of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s elite personal protection group, known as MBS, who, according to the US intelligence community, “approved an operation” to “capture or kill” Khashoggi. His body has never been found.
The murder was at least partly revenge against Khashoggi for comments in The Post in which he called for a freer Arab world and a more open and tolerant Saudi Arabia – and in which he criticized MBS’s dictatorial ways. President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State reacted to murder by protecting the Saudi despot, refusing to impose serious sanctions on the kingdom, ignoring a congressional resolution calling for sanctions and seeking to restore the image of MBS. Mr Pompeo does not hide his admiration, saying that MBS is “leading the greatest cultural reform in the history of the kingdom” and is “a truly historic figure on the world stage”.
Mr Pompeo reveals that privately he and Mr Trump felt they had saved the crown prince from disrepute. He recalls being asked by the then president to travel to Saudi Arabia and being the first Western official to see MBS since Khashoggi’s murder. “In a way, I think the president was envious that I was the one who gave the middle finger to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other bedwetters who had no grip on reality,” writes Mr. Pompeo. . “He said, ‘Hey Mike, go ahead and have a good time. Tell him he owes us.
This is the language of a badass, not the leader of a nation based on the rule of law. Mr. Pompeo offers the lame and ignorant excuse that the Middle East is a tough neighborhood. “The episode was ugly, but it wasn’t surprising – not to me anyway,” he wrote of the murder, because “this kind of cruelty was all too common in this part of the world.” Mr Pompeo hails Mr Trump’s decision not to punish the Crown Prince, saying “it was not a close call”. He then goes on to slander the murdered Khashoggi as an “activist” and not a journalist, saying he “supported the losing team in a recent fight for the throne”.
Khashoggi’s journalism, including his critique of the Saudi despot, was in the best tradition of American values of free speech, shine a light in the dark corners of the world. Mr. Pompeo reveals that he is far from these principles.
The post’s point of view | About the Editorial Board
Editorials represent the views of The Post as an institution, as determined by debate among members of the editorial boardbased in the Opinions section and separate from the newsroom.
Members of the editorial board and areas of intervention: Opinion Editor David Shipley; Deputy Opinion Editor Karen Tumulty; Associate Opinion Editor Stephen Stromberg (national politics and policies, legal affairs, energy, environment, health); Lee Hockstader (European affairs, based in Paris); David E. Hoffman (global public health); James Hohman (domestic politics and electoral politics, including the White House, Congress and governors); Charles Lane (foreign affairs, national security, international economy); long heather (economy); Associate Editor Ruth Mark; and Molly Robert (technology and society).