On Oct. 2, 2018, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. One year later, Insider tells the story "as we know it," based on a 100-page report by the UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions released in June, hundreds of news articles, and its own reporting. The piece is written as a nonfiction narrative by author Evan Ratliff, and so begins as a narrative might: "It was easy to forget, later, that he was a man in love." Ratliff recounts the days leading up to Khashoggi's fateful visit to the consulate, in which the journalist believed he would obtain paperwork that would allow him to marry Hatice Cengiz.
Ratliff shares the moments of what Khashoggi and Cengiz thought was an ordinary day. How "CCTV cameras captured the couple's unhurried stroll as they walked, hand in hand," how after he entered the building she went and bought him a water and a chocolate for when he was finished, how her panic began to build after three hours had passed, so much so that she called her sister asking her to look up the consulate's hours. It had closed 40 minutes prior. From there, Ratliff weaves in the Saudi Arabian government's deflections and movements, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's deep ties at the time to Silicon Valley and Jared Kushner, and how Pegasus spyware helped put a target on Khashoggi's back. "Because even if you think you know what happened," writes Ratliff, "you may not know how or why." (Read the piece in full.)