The US released an intelligence report on Friday that directly implicates Saudi Arabia's crown prince in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The central conclusion of the report was widely expected given that intelligence officials were said to have reached it soon after the brutal killing of Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authoritarian consolidation of power, per the AP. Still, since the finding had not been officially released until now, the public assignment of responsibility amounted to an extraordinary rebuke of the 35-year-old crown prince. US intelligence officials concluded that bin Salman approved the operation that led to Khashoggi's killing, per the Washington Post. (The US-based Khashoggi was a columnist for the Post.) The move could escalate pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable.
The report was released one day after a later-than-usual courtesy call from President Biden to Saudi King Salman, though it wasn't clear whether they discussed the killing. On the day of his death, Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Turkey to pick up documents for his wedding. Once inside, he died at the hands of more than a dozen Saudi security and intelligence officials who had assembled ahead of his arrival. Surveillance cameras had tracked his route and those of his alleged killers in Istanbul in the hours leading up to his killing. A Turkish bug planted at the consulate reportedly captured the sound of a saw dismembering Khashoggi’s body within an hour of his entering the building. His remains have not been found. The prince said in 2019 he took “full responsibility” for the killing since it happened on his watch, but denied ordering it.
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