WASHINGTON DC: The CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, sources conversant in the matter stated on Friday, complicating President Donald Trump’s efforts to protect ties with a key US ally.
The sources stated the CIA had briefed different components of the US authorities, together with Congress, on its evaluation, which contradicts Saudi authorities assertions that Prince Mohammed was not concerned.
The CIA’s discovering, first reported by the Washington Put up, is probably the most definitive US evaluation thus far tying Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler on to the killing.
Each the White Home and the State Division declined to remark.
“The claims on this purported evaluation is fake,” a spokesperson for the Saudi Embassy in Washington stated in a press release. “We now have and proceed to listen to varied theories with out seeing the first foundation for these speculations.”
Trump and prime officers of his administration have stated Saudi Arabia have to be held to account for any involvement in Khashoggi’s loss of life, however they’ve additionally careworn the significance of the US-Saudi alliance.
US officers have stated Saudi Arabia, a significant oil provider, performs an essential half in countering what they see as Iran’s malign position within the area, and Trump has repeatedly stated he doesn’t need to imperil US arms gross sales to the dominion.
Whereas the Trump administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis for his or her position in Khashoggi’s killing, many lawmakers assume the US ought to take a more durable stance, and the CIA’s findings are prone to embolden that view.
Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi authorities and a columnist for the Washington Put up, was killed on the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 when he went there to select up paperwork he wanted for his deliberate marriage to a Turkish lady.
Khashoggi had resisted stress from Riyadh for him to return dwelling. Saudi officers have stated a staff of 15 Saudi nationals had been despatched to confront Khashoggi on the consulate and that he was by chance killed in a chokehold by males who had been making an attempt to pressure him to return to the dominion.
Turkish officers have stated the killing was intentional and have been pressuring Saudi Arabia to extradite these accountable to face trial. An adviser to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of making an attempt to cowl up the homicide.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor stated on Thursday that he was looking for the loss of life penalty for 5 suspects charged within the killing. The prosecutor, Shalaan al-Shalaan, instructed reporters the crown prince knew nothing of the operation, wherein Khashoggi’s physique was dismembered and faraway from the consulate.
US officers have been skeptical that Prince Mohammed wouldn’t have recognized about plans to kill Khashoggi, given his management over Saudi Arabia.
The Put up, citing individuals conversant in the matter, stated the CIA’s evaluation was based mostly partly on a cellphone name the crown prince’s brother, Prince Khaled bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the US, had with Khashoggi.
As we instructed the Washington Put up the final contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was by way of textual content on Oct 26 2017. I by no means talked to him by cellphone and definitely by no means instructed he go to Turkey for any cause. I ask the US authorities to launch any info relating to this declare.
— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) November 16, 2018
Prince Khaled instructed Khashoggi he ought to go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the paperwork and gave him assurances that it might be protected to take action, the Put up stated.
The newspaper, citing individuals conversant in the decision, stated it was not clear if the prince knew Khashoggi could be killed however that he made the decision at his brother’s path.
The prince stated in a Twitter publish on Friday that the final contact he had with Khashoggi was by way of textual content on October 26, 2017, practically a yr earlier than the journalist’s loss of life.
“I by no means talked to him by cellphone and definitely by no means instructed he go to Turkey for any cause. I ask the US authorities to launch any info relating to this declare,” Prince Khaled stated.
The Put up stated the CIA additionally examined a name from contained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after Khashoggi’s killing.
Maher Mutreb, a safety official who has typically been seen on the crown prince’s facet, made the decision to Saud al-Qahtani, a prime aide to Prince Mohammed, to tell him the operation had been accomplished, the Put up stated, citing individuals conversant in the decision.