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Saudi Arabia restructures intelligence agencies after Khashoggi death

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Saudi Arabia restructures intelligence agencies after Khashoggi death
A Saudi flag flutters near a security camera at the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 12, 10 days after the death of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi. Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE

Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia will reform its intelligence agencies in the wake of reporter Jamal Khashoggi's death, to make sure they align with national security policies, international law and human rights.

State-run media reported Thursday a reformatory committee began meeting three weeks after Khashoggi's death in October. Authorities say he was killed by Saudi assassins inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi is not mentioned in the Saudi Press Agency's report on the government's plans for intelligence reform.

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Saudi Arabia will create four new intelligence departments -- for strategy and development, legal affairs, internal review and "intelligence activity."

The SPA's report said the goal of restructuring the agencies is to find "gaps in the organizational structure" and recommend solutions.

RELATED Saudis reject Senate's rebuke of crown prince in Khashoggi killing

"The kingdom declares that it will continue the development and governance of its institutions as part of its strategy to develop the government system, especially the security and intelligence agencies, in pursuit of achieving best international practices," it states.

The death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist often critical of the Saudi royal leadership, had international repercussions. The Saudi government changed its story about the killing multiple times, and continues to say Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with it. U.S. intelligence and other Western governments suspect the prince was complicit at some level.

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The Senate voted 56-41 last week to rebuke bin Salman in a mostly symbolic gesture. The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs rejected the Senate vote, calling it a "blatant" interference in its internal affairs.

RELATED Senate votes against Yemen war support, rebukes Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi death

President Donald Trump has said there's a lack of evidence connecting bin Salman to the plot to kill Khashoggi.

RELATED Time names Khashoggi, targeted journalists as 2018 'Person of Year'

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