FBI: Saudi government ‘almost certainly’ helps citizens accused of serious crimes escape from US

According to a newly released and declassified eight-page memo from the FBI, the government of Saudi Arabia “almost certainly” helps its citizens accused of serious crimes flee from the United States. 

Most of the document is redacted, but the FBI said the Saudi government “undermines the U.S. judicial  process” by assisting with the escape of citizens accused of offenses ranging from traffic violations to more serious felonies like “rape, child pornography, and manslaughter.”  

It said it made the assessment of the issue with “high confidence.”

The Saudi government does this, the FBI claimed, to avoid the embarrassment of “Saudi citizens enduring the U.S. judicial process” and is not likely to change the practice without pressure from the U.S.

The documents were released as part of a request to the FBI by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both Democrats from Oregon. In response to investigative reporting from the Oregonian, Wyden sponsored legislation requiring the FBI to reveal information about Saudi assistance of fugitives. The bill became law in December.