Columbia University Files FOIA Lawsuit Against US Government Over Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder

According to a press release from the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, researchers are filing a joint Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Lawsuit against the the US Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Department of Justice, Office of The Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and US Department of State. They are essentially seeking the immediate release of any and all records pertaining to Jamal Khasgoggi, in order to determine if the US intelligence community derelicted their duty to inform Khashoggi of the risks he faced entering into the Saudi consulate before his murder.

Columbia University is attempting to argue that the US intelligence community and/or different agencies affiliated with the US Government had a “duty to warn Khashoggi what he was up against, as well as any threats to his life, liberty or persons. According to their release, “U.S. intelligence agencies are obligated to inform potential victims of a kidnapping or murder if the agencies become aware of such a threat in the course of collecting or acquiring intelligence. Prior to Khashoggi’s murder U.S. intelligence reportedly intercepted communications in which Saudi agents discussed plans to kidnap him and forcibly return him to Saudi Arabia.

As fate would have it though, as the entire world is now aware, on October 2nd 2018, a team dispatched by the Saudi government assassinated Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Moreover, according to the CIA’s own analysis, it is now believed that the assassins acted at the behalf of none other than Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself.

As Columbia University argues in the complaint provided below, “under Intelligence Community Directive 191, when an Intelligence agency aquires information indicating an impending threat of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping directed at a person, it must warn the intended victim or those responsible for protecting the intended victim as appropriate.” Therefore, “the US Government must explain what it knew of the threats to Khasgoggi before his killing, and what, if anything, it did to warn him of the threat.

The Knight Institute’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 18th 2018, seeking the following records:

1.) All procedures or guidance for determining whether to warn, or for delivering a warning to, an intended victim or those responsible for protecting the intended victim, pursuant to Directive 191;5
2.) All records concerning the duty to warn under Directive 191 as it relates to Jamal Khashoggi, including any records relating to
duty to warn actions taken with respect to him.
3.) All records concerning any “issue aris[ing] among IC elements” regarding a determination to warn Jamal Khashoggi or waive the duty to warn requirement, or regarding the method for communicating threat information to him. See Directive 191, § G.1.

Full Complaint Filed in D.C: