Jamal Khashoggi: CIA 'blames bin Salman for murder'

Lester Mason
November 18, 2018

The Post's account sounds like it came from inside the CIA, but we can't be sure of that: perhaps someone in another agency, like the State Department, who was familiar with the CIA's report was the leaker.

But he also added the United States wanted to find a way of preserving a "strong and historic partnership" with Saudi Arabia.

"Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in the Saturday statement. The recording clearly contradicts the latest claim by the Saudi government that Khashoggi was killed in a fist-fight after a brawl broke out.

The CIA assessment is based on the conclusion the Prince is the country's de facto ruler who oversees even minor affairs and therefore is likely to have played a role.

Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince had "absolutely" nothing to do with Khashoggi's killing.

Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post and was a critic of the Saudi crown prince, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October while he was trying to get documents for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

Nauert said the State Department will continue to seek facts and work with other countries to hold those involved in the journalist's killing accountable "while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia".

But the State Department has called those reports "inaccurate", and Trump on Saturday told reporters that the U.S. would release "a very full report" on the matter as early as Monday.

Saudi Arabia, however, is still denying bin Salman's involvement.

President Trump ordered the Central Intelligence Agency review in order to inform his own decision-making, not to publicly impugn Mohammed bin Salman or to limit his own potential courses of action.

That official dubbed Prince Mohammed a "good technocrat" - but also someone unpredictable who "goes from zero to 60, doesn't seem to understand that there are some things you can't do".

The claim, first reported by The Washington Post, has been denied by the Saudi government.

Donald Trump has said he has been fully briefed on a "vicious and terrible" audio recording of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but does not want to listen to it himself.

Khashoggi "was not a person of interest", before his disappearance, and the fact that he was residing in Virginia meant that he was regarded as a US person and therefore shielded from USA intelligence gathering, one of the officials said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government shared the audio with Germany, France, Britain and Saudi Arabia.

The newspaper said it was not known whether the ambassador knew Khashoggi would be killed.

He said he had never suggested Khashoggi - who had been in London for a conference until the day before his disappearance - should go to Turkey for any reason.

While there has been widespread worldwide condemnation of Khashoggi's murder there has been little in the way of substantial action.

The public prosecutor's office has recommended the death penalty for five people who are believed to have ordered and committed the killing.

The administration this past week penalised 17 Saudi officials for their alleged role in the killing, but American lawmakers have called on the administration to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia or take other harsher punitive measures.

So far, Trump made it very clear that he does not wish to take any actions that would compromise his signature relationship with Saudi Arabia.

What was done with Khashoggi's remains afterwards is still unknown.

Although it's not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, he did make the call at his brother's direction, and it was intercepted by USA intelligence.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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