Twenty-one rogue Saudi Arabian officials who are believed to have been responsible for the death of Muslim Brotherhood activist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi will either have their U.S. visas revoked, or be declared ineligible to apply for U.S. visas in the future, according to a statement released by State Department Press Secretary Heather Nauert.
“These penalties will not be the last word on the matter from the United States,” U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added. “We’re making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence.”
This development comes after it was revealed by the Saudi government that a team of officials sent to confront and detain Khashoggi accidentally killed him after a fight broke out when he attempted to flee. The Saudi government has responded strongly to this inconvenient outcome by arresting 18 Saudi officials and firing 5 others.
President Donald Trump criticized the sloppy nature of the operation conducted by those he described as “rogue killers”.
“They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups,” Trump said. “Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up. And they had the worst cover-up ever. … Whoever thought of that idea, I think, is in big trouble.”
However, he made clear that he believed this diplomatic fiasco should not affect the major arms and investment deals he signed with Saudi Arabia in 2017.
“I don’t want to lose a million jobs, I don’t want to lose $110 billion.” he noted. “But it’s really $450 billion if you include other than military. So that’s very important.”
Trump also refrained from accusing the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, of involvement in the botched operation, insisting that the facts had to be clarified before blame could be allocated.
“Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible.” Trump added. “We haven’t reached that point … I would love if he wasn’t responsible.”
The Turkish government, a major ally of Khashoggi’s favorite Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas militant networks, has lately promoted a conspiracy theory that the Saudi government somehow planned Khashoggi’s death days in advance, but has yet to reveal any substantive proof for its claims.