A Washington Post official blasted Mike Pompeo for his portrayal of Jamal Khashoggi in his new book.
Post publisher Fred Ryan said Pompeo "outrageously" misrepresents "the life and work" of Khashoggi.
It was later revealed the US believed the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia ordered Khashoggi's murder.
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan on Tuesday fired back at former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for criticizing the late Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in his new book as an "activist" and saying the media unfairly lionized him after Khashoggi's brutal murder.
"It is shocking and disappointing to see Mike Pompeo's book so outrageously misrepresent the life and work of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi," Ryan said in a statement after reports about Pompeo's book. "As the CIA — which Pompeo once directed — concluded, Jamal was brutally murdered on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman."
Ryan added that "it is shameful" Pompeo would "spread vile falsehoods to dishonor a courageous man's life and service."
—Washington Post PR (@WashPostPR) January 24, 2023
Pompeo, who is widely viewed as considering a 2024 presidential run, mocked the larger media portrayal of Khashoggi in his newly published book, "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love."
"Much of the disproportionate global uproar was fueled by the media, which hammered the story extra hard because Khashoggi was a 'journalist,'" Pompeo wrote. "To be clear, Khashoggi was a journalist to the extent that I and many other public figures are journalists."
Pompeo goes on mock the media for making Khashoggi "out to be a Saudi Arabian Bob Woodward who was martyred."
"In truth, Khashoggi was an activist who had supported a losing team in a recent fight for the throne in Saudi Arabia, and he was unhappy with having been exiled. And as even the New York Times reported, Khashoggi was cozy with the terrorist-supporting Muslim Brotherhood."
In response to Ryan's statement, Pompeo said he would "never let the media bully me."
"Americans are safer because we didn't label Saudi Arabia a pariah state," Pompeo wrote on Twitter. "I never let the media bully me. Just b/c someone is a part-time stringer for WaPo doesn't make their life more important than our military serving in dangerous places protecting us all."
The Times did report in 2018 that "several" of Khashoggi's friends say that earlier in his life that the future columnist joined the Muslim Brotherhood. The report also described that later in his life Khashoggi's ties to the group were "ambiguous." Hanan Elatr Khashoggi, Khashoggi's widow, told NBC News that Khashoggi' was never part of the group.
The Trump administration pushed to label Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, a view that was met with intense pushback from those who study the group's origin. Experts said at the time that while offshoots of the Brotherhood had been violent, there was not sufficent evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood itself met the legal definition for such a desgination.
Khashoggi, a Saudi national, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Audio of his capture and subsequent brutal death at hands of a Saudi hit squad later came to light.
At the time of Khashoggi's death, Pompeo was President Donald Trump's Secretary of State. Pompeo saw firsthand how Khashoggi's death galvanized bipartisan outrage over the US's relationship with Saudi Arabia. The Biden administration later declassified a Trump-era intelligence report that assessed that Prince Mohammed ordered the grizzly killing. Khashoggi had written columns critical of the Kingdom for The Post.
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