Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist critical of power after being close to it, was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a team of agents from Saudi Arabia.
Four members of the commando group who killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 had received paramilitary training in the United States after receiving a green light from the US State Department, the New York Times revealed on Tuesday (June 22) .
Critic of Saudi power after being close to it, Jamal Khashoggi, resident in the United States and columnist for the daily Washington Post , was assassinated on October 2, 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a team of agents from Saudi Arabia.
Among these agents, says the New York daily, four had received training from a private American security group, Tier 1 Group, on the basis of an authorization first granted by the administration of Barack Obama in 2014. This training continued at least until the start of Donald Trump’s mandate, specifies the New York Times .
The American newspaper quotes in particular a document provided to the Trump administration by a senior official of the parent company of Tier 1 Group, the investment fund Cerberus, when he was heard by a parliamentary committee after being proposed by Donald Trump for a post in the Department of Defense.
In this written document, Louis Bremer confirms that Tier 1 Group did provide training to Saudi agents but insists that the training was “protective in nature” and “unrelated to their subsequent heinous acts”.
Louis Bremer specifies, adds the New York Times , that the four members of the commando received the training in 2017, and that two of the two had already participated in a first version of the training, from October 2014 to January 2015.
The US State Department, contacted by AFP, said it could not comment on this information while nevertheless calling for “responsible use (…) of American military equipment and training”. “This administration (…) examines the appropriate responses when violations occur,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price in this statement.
A commando linked to MBS
According to a US report released in February, seven members of an elite unit tasked with protecting Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Ben Salman were from the commando that killed Jamal Khashoggi. The New York Times does not specify whether the four officers trained in the United States belonged to this unit.
The body of the dissident journalist, dismembered on the spot, has never been found.
After denying the assassination, Ryad ended up saying that it had been committed by Saudi agents who acted alone. After an opaque trial in Saudi Arabia, five Saudis were sentenced to death and three sentenced to prison terms – death sentences have since been commuted .