Four of the Saudi citizens who partook in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi back in 2018 received paramilitary training in the United States, the NYT reported.
The training took place in 2017, and was under contract with the US State Department.
The training was provided by Tier 1 Group, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, and was defensive in nature and devised to protect Saudi leaders.
Cerberus senior executive Louis Bremer confirmed his company’s role in the training of four members of the Khashoggi kill team last year in written answers to questions from members of Congress as part of his nomination for a senior Pentagon job in former President Donald Trump’s administration, according to the Times.
But the lawmakers never received the answers because the Trump administration does not appear to have sent them to Congress before withdrawing Bremer’s nomination, according to the Times, which said Bremer provided it with the document.
According to Bremer, it falls to the State Department and other government agencies to vet which foreign nationals receive such training.
In response to the Times report, State Department spokesman Ned Price said under the law the department cannot comment “on any of the licensed defense export licensing activity alleged in media reporting.”
Price also said U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia “will prioritize the rule of law and respect for human rights.”
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
A U.S. intelligence report in February said the crown prince had approved an operation to capture or kill the journalist.
US President Joe Biden said that there would be consequences after he entered the White House, but he then entirely walked back on his claims, and said that nothing would happen to Saudi Crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
Additionally, the NYT reported there is no evidence that the American officials who approved the training, or the Tier 1 Group executives, knew that the Saudis were involved in the crackdown inside Saudi Arabia.
Basically, they were trained in the US, but nobody bears responsibility for their actions, despite Saudi officials orchestrating the assassination and the US providing the ‘skillset’ to do so.
A recent Yahoo News report by investigative journalist Michael Isikoff also revealed that the team of Saudi assassins who allegedly killed Khashoggi reportedly stopped in the Egyptian capital to pick up the drugs they used to kill the dissident.
The report said a Gulfstream jet stopped over in Cairo on October 2, 2018, before ultimately landing in Istanbul.
The report did not mention what type of drugs were used to kill Khashoggi, or who provided them to the assassins.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- U.S. To Remove Defense Systems From Saudi Arabia, Other Middle Eastern Countries
- First In Ten Years: Syrian Minister Pays Official Visit To Saudi Arabia