Foreign Policy Digital

Security Brief: Khashoggi Report Hangs Over Talks at Reagan Defense Forum; Mattis Accuses Putin of Election Meddling

Dispatch from the Reagan National Defense Forum, UK Defense Minister on Russia’s arms treaty violation, remembering George H.W. Bush.

Foreign Policy Pentagon Correspondent Lara Seligman was at the Reagan Presidential Library this weekend, where top national security leaders from around the world rubbed elbows and had a chance to view the original Air Force One. A few intrepid attendees snapped a photo of the original Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on display at the library’s museum.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Gina Haspel is furious at the latest round of leaks revealing American intercepts of Saudi communications; support for Riyadh withers on Capitol Hill; Washington sanctions Iranian bitcoin accounts; Tokyo moves to upgrade its F-15s; and FP looks back on the legacy of President George H.W. Bush, who died over the weekend.  

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The who’s who of the national security community gathered in Simi Valley for the annual Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday, with discussions ranging from countering Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific to how to better engage with Silicon Valley.

But a damning new report linking Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince to the brutal killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi hung over the talks, as officials strove to walk an increasingly fine line between condemning those responsible for the murder and reaffirming the importance of the Saudi alliance.

In a rare media interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier at the forum, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis stressed that there is still no “smoking gun” tying Crown

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