September 28, 2022

Wyden Announces Hold On Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today announced he will hold the nomination of Michael Ratney to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

When The Oregonian revealed the Saudi regime has systematically helped its citizens flee the United States after being accused of violent crimes, Wyden pressed the executive branch to win justice for the victims of these crimes, including the manslaughter of Portland teenager Fallon Smart. The Oregonian first reported that the man accused of killing Smart, Saudi national Abdulrahman Noorah, fled the country with the assistance of the Saudi government. 

“Before I consent to the consideration of his nomination on the Senate floor, I must believe that as Ambassador he will make the issue of Saudi fugitives one of his top priorities,” Wyden said today. “ I am continuing my conversations with him and the State Department, but I need more details from the Executive Branch on its progress in bringing Mr. Noorah to justice, and I intend to hold Mr. Ratney’s nomination until I am satisfied that our Executive Branch will do everything in its power to stop the Saudi government from further subverting the American justice system and to bring those accused of heinous crimes back to the United States to face justice.” 

Last year, Wyden successfully pressed the government to declassify new information about Saudi government assistance to fugitives, and led Congressional efforts to declassify the facts about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. 

A hold is a Senate procedure that slows consideration of a nominee. A hold can be overcome by a procedural vote.