Over the past few months, Forensic News has been working with many sources who worked at the company Wikistrat and saw suspicious events and who wanted to share their stories. One such source was Matt Penn, a former Outreach Coordinator for the company who shared emails with us showing that a senior Wikistrat executive claimed that they had “recruited” Jamal Khashoggi for an undefined project just weeks before he was murdered.
The executive was unnamed in our original articles, but we can now reveal that it was Oren Kesler who sent the messages. Kesler was then Wikistrat’s Director of Operations and is now the company’s CEO. He did not respond to a request for comment.
After the murder of Khashoggi, Kesler then denied that Khashoggi was part of the community. Just weeks ago in a correspondence with Forensic News, Wikistrat Management said that Khashoggi was an analyst “within the community for awhile,” apparently once again shifting their story:
As you know the company came under a wave of media scrutiny and speculation over the past year – raising to the level of ridiculous conspiracy theories and absurd allegations.
You are already responsible for publishing some of these stories, with an incredibly high proportion of false claims connecting totally unrelated dots.
Jamal, similar to many of our analysts, worked with many organizations and media outlets. We mourn his death and were shocked by his horrible murder.
There is no story here. He was not hired “weeks before”, he was one of many analysts within the community for a while.
Matt shared his story with us, first privately, but now wants to tell his version of events publicly. Below are the original emails that set off alarm bells within the Wikistrat community about Jamal Khashoggi: