Avril Haines, President Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, said Tuesday she will release an unclassified report on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi if confirmed.
Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, asked Ms. Haines to commit to releasing the report during her nomination hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the eve of Mr. Biden’s inauguration.
“Ms. Haines, if you are confirmed, you have an opportunity to immediately turn a page on the excessive secrecy and lawlessness of the outgoing administration,” Mr. Wyden said at the hearing. “Congress passed a law requiring the DNI to submit to Congress an unclassified report on who was responsible for the brutal murder of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. If you are confirmed, will you submit to Congress the unclassified report required by the law?”
“Yes senator, absolutely, I will follow the law,” Ms. Haines responded.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, vanished upon entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, and it was soon determined he was killed inside. He was 59.
Senators briefed by the director of the CIA after Khaghosshi disappeared previously said they believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is to blame for the death of the dissident.
Mr. Wyden later wrote a law passed in early 2020 requiring the director of national intelligence to release an unclassified report about Khashoggi‘s killing and who the U.S. holds responsible.
Such a report was never released under the Trump administration, however.
“It was refreshing to hear a straightforward commitment to follow the law from DNI-nominee Haines, after a year of stonewalling by the Trump administration to conceal the identity of who ordered Jamal Khashoggi,” Mr. Wyden said in a statement later Tuesday.