US expert: Leaks by Washington Post regarding Khashoggi case ‘not final say’
Jim Hanson, the president of the Security Studies Group, told Fox News that the leaks of classified information that the Washington Post and other news outlets are relying on regarding the Khashoggi case are “not something that should be the final say”.
“The State Department is saying the correct thing, this is not a final report. These leaks of classified information that the Washington Post and others are relying on are not something that should be the final say. So let’s wait to see what it says,” Hanson told Fox & Friends on Sunday.
The security expert, who served in US Army Special Forces and conducted Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Insurgency as well as Diplomatic, Intelligence and Humanitarian operations in more than a dozen countries, reminded the fact that Saudi Arabia was taking proactive steps in dealing with the case.
“Saudi Arabia has identified those responsible. They’re going ahead and punishing them and holding them accountable which is proper for a sovereign nation. As all that happens, if they do the right thing and there is no direct proof of the crown prince’s involvement, then we should accept that and go on with the fact that they provide vital assistance for us in the war against terror,” he said.
Hanson said that Saudi Arabia is a vital ally against Iran who he described as the major problem in the region. “Throwing away that important relationship – as important as the death of a person is – it is not a strategic United States interest, and we have to make our decisions based on those,” he said.
On Friday night, the Washington Post published new accusations against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stating that a CIA anonymous source claimed that the he had ordered the killing of Khashoggi, based on intercepted phone calls.
Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman denied these allegations and described the Washington Post’s claim as “a serious accusation that should not be left to anonymous sources”.
The State Department then reacted on Saturday by saying that the US government has not yet made a final conclusion on who was involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.