While Khashoggi was once sympathetic to Islamist movements, he moved toward a more liberal, secular point of view, according to experts
on the Middle East who have tracked his career. Khashoggi knew bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s during the civil war in Afghanistan, but his interactions
with bin Laden were as a journalist with a point of view who was working with a prized source.
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, left his home country last year and was granted residency in the United States by federal authorities. He lived in Virginia
and wrote for The Washington Post.
Nevertheless, the smears have escalated. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son and key political booster, shared
another person’s tweet last week with his millions of followers that included a line that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden” in the 1980s, even though the context was a feature story on bin Laden’s activities.