Report: CIA Concludes Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi's Death

Sources say the agency has 'high confidence' that Mohammed bin Salman was involved
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2018 6:00 AM CST
CIA: Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi's Death
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman addresses the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Oct. 24, 2018.   (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

It's not exactly a surprising conclusion, but it lends credence to the whispers—the CIA believes with "high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the one who put the hit out on Jamal Khashoggi, sources tell the Washington Post and New York Times. The Times notes two key communications came into play: calls made by the "kill team" to a top bin Salman aide, as well as calls with the crown prince himself. Although bin Salman is never heard directly ordering Khashoggi's assassination on the intercepts, sources say he can be heard mulling over ways to get Khashoggi back to Riyadh. The CIA also based its conclusion on the fact that the crown prince is, in effect, the ruler of a kingdom in which nothing big happens without his OK. "The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved," a US official tells the Post.

One particularly critical phone call, said to have been made at bin Salman's direction, was one placed by his brother, Khalid bin Salman, to Khashoggi, in which Khalid told the journalist he should head over to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to get his marriage papers, and that he'd be OK doing that. Arab News reports that Khalid is pushing back on those claims, ripping into the Post on Twitter for publishing such a "serious accusation" that he says "should not be left to anonymous sources." "As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017," he noted in a tweet. "I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim." (Saudi Arabia says it wants to put five to death in the case.)

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