Former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia corrects Fox host after attempted smear of Jamal Khashoggi
Maria Bartiromo: "There's sort of a debate on who he was. Was he an activist or a journalist? Was he a member of the Muslim Brotherhood?"
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From the October 17 edition of Fox Business' Mornings with Maria Bartiromo:
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ROBERT W. JORDAN (FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA): We need to find out how much Crown Prince Salman -- Mohammad bin Salman actually knew about this. I don't fully buy into the notion that if he didn't know about it, it's OK. It's not OK. This was a team of assassins, this was a forensic doctor who was part of the team, bringing along with him a bone saw. They were only in the [Saudi Arabian] consulate for two hours. That is not the kind of lengthy interrogation you would expect under peaceable terms. So, I think this, pretty clearly, was a hit squad that came in, many of whom have been documented to have close ties to Crown Prince Mohamed. So I think we've got to get to the bottom of that.
And, if Mohamed, for some odd reason, didn't know about it ahead of time, then you have to ask the question, how much is he actually in control of the kingdom? This would have been a major decision by their government, and one that I can't imagine he would not have been closely attached to.
MARIA BARTIROMO (HOST): So, they were only in there for two hours, that's an important point that you raise. Tell me a little about Jamal Khashoggi, if you know anything about him. There's sort of a debate on who he was. Was he an activist or a journalist? Was he a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? What's your take?
JORDAN: I knew him and met with him a number of times when I was ambassador. He was a peaceful individual. Never someone who would foment activist dissent in a violent way. He was not a threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He had opinions, which he expressed, some of which were critical of the human rights violations that I think we've all criticized within Saudi Arabia. At the same time, he was complimentary, from time to time, of some of the reforms that this new crown prince had been undertaking. So, it's a mixed message there. Certainly not someone who was an activist in the sense of trying to bring down the regime or foment revolution.
JORDAN: There's an alliance there because we have common interests, we need to preserve that the best we can. But you can't forgive certain kinds of conduct, such as the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, so there have to be consequences. You can actually do both. After 9/11, I had to get in the face of the Saudis, along with [former Director of Central Intelligence] George Tenet, [former Secretary of State] Colin Powell, and others, and urge them -- demand of them that they do better in fighting terrorism. I think this is the time for a tough talk with the Saudis. They are not the senior partner in this relationship.