According to a New York Times exclusive report, four Saudi Arabian operatives who were on the "kill team" in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's 2018 assassination had received paramilitary training in the US the year before. The Times spoke to sources familiar with the arrangement and viewed documents. The State Department approved the contract under which the men were trained by Arkansas-based security company Tier 1 Group, granting the license back in 2014. Two of the operatives involved had received training from 2014-15 and again in 2017; the other two only trained in 2017.
Around that time, the secret unit that ultimately carried out the Washington Post journalist's killing was starting its campaign, ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to stamp out dissent in the kingdom via kidnapping, detention, and torture of citizens. There is no evidence that either US officials or Tier 1 Group execs knew about that crackdown, but, as the Times points out, the news still makes clear "how intensely intertwined" the US is with Saudi Arabia. See the Times for the full story. (Read more Jamal Khashoggi stories.)