NEW YORK—The Open Society Justice Initiative has today filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and other federal agencies seeking the disclosure of all records relating to the killing of U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The FOIA request, prepared with assistance from the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, covers records “including but not limited to the CIA’s findings on the circumstances under which he was killed and/or the identities of those responsible.”
In addition to the CIA, the request was filed with the U.S. Departments of State, Justice and Defense, as well as with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In making the request, the Justice Initiative argues that disclosure of the records is essential “for a public evaluation of the federal government’s efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.” It also asserts that “the American public has a right to know what its government is doing to uphold human rights and the rule of law” in the context of the murder.
James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, underscored that the FOIA request is vital not only to enable robust discussion of a matter of intense public interest in the United States, but also to contribute to accountability for a horrific crime:
“So long as the evidence in the CIA’s possession is suppressed, the perpetrators of this murder may be more likely to get away with it. Only by making available what the CIA knows can prosecutors and judges—not just in the U.S., but around the world where jurisdiction may lie—be able to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Amrit Singh, lead lawyer for the Justice Initiative on the filing, said:
“In the face of widespread public and bipartisan Congressional outrage about the murder of a U.S. resident, the Trump Administration has responded with what appears to be a cover-up. The Administration’s own selective disclosures appear to have been misleading and plainly insufficient. The full disclosure of these records is a vital step towards ending impunity for the perpetrators, no matter how powerful they might be, and allowing the public to evaluate for itself how the U.S. government is responding to this flagrant disregard for the rule of law.”
The Justice Initiative is a public interest law center that has operated as part of the Open Society Foundations since 2003. It has participated in more than 100 cases in national and international courts around the world, including on behalf of the victims of police torture and killings in custody. It also won judgments against three European nations—Poland, Romania, and Macedonia—over their participation in the program of secret rendition, imprisonment, and torture run by the CIA after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a leading international law firm, with offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.