June 23, 2021

Kaine Statement On Reports That Saudi Operatives Who Killed Khashoggi Were Trained In U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), released the following statement on the New York Times report confirming that Saudi operatives responsible for assassinating journalist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi received government-approved high-level military training in the U.S.:

“These latest reports confirm what I feared to be true when I pressed Trump’s DOD nominee and Tier 1 board member Louis Bremer on this disturbing subject last year: Saudi nationals responsible for assassinating Mr. Khashoggi were trained by Tier 1 Group, a U.S. private security company. There must be a thorough review of all Tier 1 Group contracts and stronger State Department oversight of U.S. defense services provided to foreign nations, especially ones with such problematic human rights records like Saudi Arabia, to ensure something like this never happens again. I will continue pressing for accountability and answers for Mr. Khashoggi‘s unjust killing.” 

Last August, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Senator Kaine questioned Louis Bremer, then-President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, regarding 2019 reporting that the Tier 1 Group—where he served on the Board of Directors for several years—may have trained Saudi nationals implicated in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. Video of Kaine’s full line of questioning can be found here: https://timkaine.box.com/s/xsaubak7vkdk0sqf67mi75q56xp8fqcv

During the hearing, Mr. Bremer claimed that he was not aware of the reporting and was unsure whether Tier 1 has ever conducted any investigation of the matter. Senator Kaine asked follow up questions for the record to discover more about Tier 1’s role in such training, any investigation conducted by or for the company, and any actions taken by the company in response to any such investigation. Senator Kaine never received official responses to his questions for the record and the Bremer nomination was withdrawn.

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