Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday pointed to the “deep state” to explain why he and other senators have not yet seen the CIA’s conclusions about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“To my mind, this is the very definition of the deep state,” Paul said in an interview on Fox News. “That the intelligence agencies do things, make conclusions, but then the elected officials are prevented from knowing about this.”
“If I’m not allowed to know about these conclusions, then I can’t have oversight,” he added, “then the deep state grows and has more and more power.”
CIA Director Gina Haspel is briefing some senators Tuesday on what her agency knows about Khashoggi’s death, after she was not included in an earlier briefing alongside Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo and Mattis have said there is no “direct evidence” or “smoking gun” linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Khashoggi’s murder. Paul said that was the “wrong question” to ask.
“Ask them whether or not they agree or disagree with the CIA’s conclusion that all of the evidence that we’ve seen adds up to make us really think strongly, with high confidence, that he did it,” the senator said. He referred to the reports that the CIA has concluded with high confidence MBS was involved.
“I have not seen that intelligence, nor have I even seen the conclusions,” he said.
Paul confirmed that he was not invited to Haspel’s briefing with some senators Tuesday, and said he thought it was because he wasn’t planning on changing his vote to get the United States out of the Saudi war in Yemen.
“I suspect they’re trying to trade this briefing with a few people to try to get them to vote against the resolution next week,” he said, adding: “I think they may suspect I won’t change my vote, which is true, but that doesn’t mean that I as an elected official, representing an entire state, should not be granted the same privilege as every other senator to see this information.”
Sen. Rand Paul blames "deep state" for keeping senators in the dark on Khashoggi murder pic.twitter.com/yfImotDZeh
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 4, 2018