- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul warned that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi would only be the first political slaying in Saudi Arabia if the U.S. does not take action over his brutal assassination.

Speaking to The Washington Times’ Tim Constantine in an interview released on Wednesday, Mr. Paul stressed that the U.S. should pull back on its ties with the Saudi government, regardless of the economic benefits of the alliance.

The slaying of Mr. Khashoggi is the top of a growing list of issues the Kentucky Republican has with the Middle Eastern Kingdom, including its war in Yemen and jailing dissidents.

Mr. Paul warned that turning a blind eye will only lead to more death for political prisoners, especially if there is no consequence following the brutal killing of a writer who worked for a U.S. newspaper.

“I think these people will be executed, and they’ll say that America doesn’t care,” he said. “We’ll just keep selling you arms because we think there’s a buck to be made. Now, I think that’s a bad way to look at it.”

While the senator is certain that the CIA found Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing — which several other senators have come forward saying — he was not included among the lawmakers picked to be briefed by CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday.

Mr. Paul, a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed his frustration with being excluded from the CIA briefing — a sign of what he sees as the deep state at work.

“I shouldn’t have to read it in a paper,” he said. “I should be getting a briefing from the CIA about what their conclusions are.”

The libertarian senator said he understood the deep state to be a substantial lack of oversight from elected officials on members of the intelligence agency that have “extraordinary powers.”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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