Journalist Khashoggi Murdered Under Saudi Prince Salman’s Orders, Says CIA

Swarajya Staff

Nov 17, 2018, 09:15 AM | Updated 09:15 AM IST

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has established that the brutal killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was carried out under the direct orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, The Washington Post has reported.

The Post report quoted an official familiar with the matter saying that the spy agency’s assessment was not based on “smoking gun” evidence of the crown prince’s involvement, but rather “an understanding of how Saudi Arabia works.”

According to the paper, CIA has accessed phone calls between the crown prince's brother, who also serves as the Saudi ambassador to the US, Khalid bin Salman, and Khashoggi, during the course of which Khashoggi was directed to pick up documents at the consulate.

It is unclear as yet if Khalid was privy to the plan to assassinate Khashoggi, but what is certain is that he made the call at his brother’s behest and the call was intercepted by US intelligence.

Among the intelligence inputs used by the CIA is an audio recording from a listening device that the Turks placed inside the Saudi consulate. Turkish officials gave the CIA a copy of that audio.

In addition to calls and audio recordings, CIA also found clear links between members of the Saudi hit squad and Mohammed himself. Some of the 15 members have served on his security team.

Over the past weeks, Saudi Arabia has offered several contradictory views and indulged in outright lies explaining what happened to Khashoggi. In the days following the news of Khashoggi’s disappearance, the crown prince claimed that the journalist left the consulate shortly after arriving.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said he was seeking the death penalty for some of the suspects charged with Khashoggi's murder.

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