US Wants Saudi Progress on Khashoggi Murder Probe by October

Administration fears 'increased sensitivity' on issue around anniversary

On October 2, Saudi Arabian forces murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Since then, Saudi officials have offered a handful of narratives, all of which emphasize that the crown prince, who intelligence communities say almost certainly ordered the murder, had nothing to do with it.

The Trump Administration didn’t want to lose billions in Saudi arms sales over the murder, and chose to just insist the Saudi investigation is ongoing. There is mounting Congressional opposition to the sales, because of the murder, and the administration sees that getting worse going forward.

Now, the administration is warning that the Saudis need to show some sort of “tangible progress” on the probe of the murder by October of this year, warning that there will be ‘increased sensitivity” to the issue around the anniversary.

“It would be in everyone’s best interest to have some tangible progress by then,” one official said of the anniversary. What that’s going to mean is unclear, but clearly the hope is that the Saudis can finally come up with an at least plausible excuse for what happened.

While the Saudis have had extra time to work on an excuse, they’ve got their work cut out for them, as there would still likely be a major backlash to the truth, and there isn’t an easy lie that hasn’t already been tried and rejected.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of