Biden Reportedly Decides Not to Penalize Saudi Crown Prince After Khashoggi Intel Report Release
On Friday, a US intelligence report accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the operation to “capture or kill” journalist Jamal Khashoggi was declassified by the Biden administration.
US president Joe Biden decided that the price of “directly penalizing” Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman amid allegations that he was the one behind the Khashoggi assassination is too high, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing senior administration officials.
According to The Times, Biden’s decision not to directly penalize the Crown Prince was made after a consensus had been reached in the White House that there is no way “to formally bar” Bin Salman from entering the US or to weigh any criminal charges against him without breaching the relations with the Kindgom.
“While officials said there was no question the Prince Mohammed has ordered the killing and imprisonment of dissidents and other opponents, a ban would make it impossible to deal with the Saudis in the future”, the NYT report says. “He was, they concluded, simply too important to American interests to punish.”
The NYT piece comes soon after the release by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) of the US intelligence report that accused Mohammed bin Salman, also known by his initials MBS, of approving the killing of Khashoggi.