Washington (CNN)Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and the panel’s top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, are asking the Trump administration to declassify information related to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the US intelligence community’s assessment of who was responsible.
The senators sent a letter on Monday to acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell requesting the administration provide an unclassified report on Khashoggi’s killing as required by a provision in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, Burr confirmed Tuesday.
Burr told CNN that he sent the letter to Grenell as “one last effort to jog him” before Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, pushes to use Senate rules to try to force the report’s release. The Washington Post first reported the letter from Burr and Warner.
Yet, the office of the director of national intelligence, which is now led by a Trump loyalist in Grenell, told lawmakers last month it would not provide any unclassified information about the killing, and provided only a classified report.
When asked Tuesday about the letter from Senate lawmakers, an ODNI spokesperson told CNN that the agency “has no specific detail to offer concerning the response” that has already been provided to lawmakers but “believes the response satisfies Congress’s specific requests as outlined in the FY20 NDAA sections.”
Khashoggi — a Washington Post columnist and royal insider-turned-critic — was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. He had expected to collect documents for his upcoming wedding but was instead killed and allegedly dismembered in the building. His remains are yet to be found.
But more than a year after Khashoggi’s death, lawmakers are continuing to press the Trump administration over what it views as a lack of transparency on the matter.
Last year, President Donald Trump said he was “extremely angry and very unhappy” about the murder of Khashoggi but claimed that “nobody has directly pointed a finger” at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, despite the conclusions of the CIA and a United Nations report.
MBS has denied personal involvement in the killing.
The request from Burr and Warner comes on the heels of a similar letter that was sent to Grenell last week by House In