Karen Attiah, the global opinions editor at the Washington Post, has been one of the voices leading the charge for justice in Jamal Khashoggi’s name — and the frustration she’s been enveloped by while carrying that role flashed the inevitable on Friday, October 19, when it spilled over on her Twitter page.
The glimpse that a recent New York Times exclusive gave into the relationship that Attiah had built with Khashoggi, prior to his death, provides insight into why she’s been fighting so passionately for answers. The 32-year-old Nigerian-Ghanaian Texas native got to manage the platform of a man who she considered to be one of the world’s most important writers in Khashoggi, and to her determination, the parties probing the circumstances of his murder are doing everything in their power to cover-up their alleged involvement.
Attiah was the staffer who recruited the exiled Saudi national to the Washington Post, prepared his work for publication, and above all else, became a friend in Khashoggi’s life who he could rely on to deliver grievances against repression in Saudi Arabia to a larger audience than he ever imagined he’d reach. So when she got wind that the kingdom’s preliminary investigators had concluded that there was little more to the late dissident’s final moment than him being killed as the result of an altercation, Attiah went off.
2 weeks later, and this is the best explanation they could give? It’s almost insulting. But here goes:— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) October 20, 2018
1) Then what happened to the body?
2) Why did officials lie say and he left the consulate?
3) What evidence do they have to support that there was a fistfight? #Khashoggi https://t.co/SMZiV51sz1
“It’s almost insulting,” “Utter Bulls**t,” and “Freshly angry all over again,” were just a few of the bitter retorts that Attiah slung in a string of a half-dozen or so tweets she unleashed while questioning the merits of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vow to get to the bottom of the slaughter, and outright inferring that the Saudis are in the very least lying about him having no foreknowledge that the apparent assassination would take place.
“Khashoggi was a 60-year-old man. What sort of equal ‘fight’ would he have had against 15 other men? And who brings a bone saw to a ‘discussion’?! The stupidity of the Saudi explanation is mind-boggling,” Attiah at one point posted, before going on to further pose her suspicions of foul play. “And we are supposed to believe, that Mohammed Bin Salman had no knowledge of this, even though his right-hand man has been implicated, and a team of 15 men flew in on private planes entered a consulate on foreign soil to carry this out?” she wrote.
And we are supposed to believe, that Mohammed Bin Salman had no knowledge of this, even though his right hand man has been implicated, and a team of 15 men flew in on private planes entered a consulate on foreign soil to carry this out? #Khashoggi— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) October 20, 2018
Journalists and whistleblowers: Time to step up and find out the real truth of what happened to #Khashoggi.— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) October 20, 2018
What I hate about the statement is the use of the passive construction to imply this was an accident. Jamal didn’t just “die during a struggle.” #Khashoggi was killed. By Saudi men. In a consulate. His life was taken from him.— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) October 20, 2018
Attiah is certainly not alone in her outrage over the Saudi government being able to stage a fleeting investigation into a slaying that took down one of its most outspoken critics in their own Yemen-based consulate. People from across the globe — and journalists in particular — have been demanding that more be done to hold Saudi Arabia to account for the mysterious October 2 disappearance and subsequent developments that have Khashoggi’s fate appearing to be less of a mystery.
Members of President Trump’s own party have even come out against him on his willingness to take the kingdom’s crown prince at his word. As Huffington Post Foreign Affairs Reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed notes in a piece he did on the probe, Congress does have the authority to invoke House and Senate intelligence committees led investigations into what the Trump administration and U.S. intelligence may or may not have known about threats made toward Khashoggi in the lead up to the murder. But, whether they will proceed beyond the lip service they’ve been dealing about the tragedy, remains to be seen.