Media Fault Pompeo for Defending Saudi Assassination of Journalist

Pompeo argues Khashoggi was a not as important as US troops

Released this week as part of an effort to kickstart his presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s memoir Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love caused considerable controversy in addressing, and ultimately dismissing, Saudi Arabia’s 2018 assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi is his memoir.

The Trump Administration did little in response to the killing, and Pompeo’s State Department led efforts to argue that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) likely orchestrated the matter, but still ought not to be held accountable.

Pompeo’s argument in the new book was both vilifies Khashoggi and downplays his value as a reporter.

Pompeo claims Khashoggi was “an activist” with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he mourned Osama bin Laden. Khashoggi’s wife dismisses these claims, as do media outlets he was connected with.

Pompeo argues Khashoggi was only a journalist insofar as his writings were published, claiming he and other officials had things published too but “did other things” on top of that.

Pompeo describes Khashoggi as a “part-time stringer,” and says the lack of recriminations for killing him “made America safer.”

While offering a concession that Khashoggi oughtn’t have been killed, Pompeo says his life wasn’t more important than the lives of US troops.

Pompeo says the killing was no surprise — just the sort of thing that happens often in the Middle East, where MBS is a great historical figure.

Publishers called Pompeo’s comments shocking. DAWN Director Sarah Leah Witson added it was “despicable that a senior American official is suggesting that it’s ok to kill a journalist if his political views are ones he doesn’t like.”

Trump and Pompeo worked to keep the report on the killing from the public, with Trump bragging he “saved his ass.” Pompeo’s comments suggests he was comfortable enough that no saving was necessary.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.