CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's death, sources say

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journali...

Posted: Nov 18, 2018 3:48 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2018 3:48 PM

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the Saudi government's denials that the de facto ruler was involved, according to a senior US official and a source familiar with the matter.

The senior US official told CNN on Friday the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government and other evidence, including American intelligence.

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The sources told CNN that the CIA based its assessment on available intelligence, as opposed to any specific smoking gun-type of evidence.

Investigators also believe an operation such as the one that ended in Khashoggi's death would not have happened without bin Salman's knowledge given his control of the government, the senior US official said.

A Saudi Embassy spokeswoman said in a statement that "the claims in this purported assessment are false. We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations."

The Washington Post was first to report on the CIA's assessment.

According to the Post, US officials have high confidence in the CIA's assessment.

President Donald Trump said Saturday morning that he had not yet been briefed on the CIA's assessment, but planned to speak with the agency and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his flight to California.

"As of this moment, we were told that (bin Salman) did not play a role," Trump told reporters at the White House before boarding Air Force One. "We're going to have to find out what they have to say."

The President, though, called Saudi Arabia a "spectacular ally."

"We also have a great ally in Saudi Arabia. They give us a lot of jobs, they give us a lot of business, a lot of economic development," Trump told reporters Saturday, later adding that Saudi Arabia has been "a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development."

A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment to the Post. The Saudi government has denied bin Salman's involvement in Khashoggi's death.

Vice President Mike Pence said the United States would hold all involved with Khashoggi's murder to account. He also said he wanted to preserve the strong relationship with Saudi Arabia amid the murder investigation.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent press and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder," Pence said early Saturday morning while in Papua New Guinea on a foreign trip.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the country's government, went missing in October after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers for his upcoming marriage. The Saudi government offered changing explanations for Khashoggi's disappearance.

Included in the US intelligence analyzed by the CIA was a phone call the prince's brother Khalid bin Salman made to Khashoggi, encouraging the journalist to make the trip to the consulate to get the documents, according to the Post. Sources told the Post that Khalid made the call at his brother's command.

Khalid denied the Post's reporting, saying on Twitter that he had never spoken to Khashoggi by phone.

"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," Khalid said.

He said the last contact he'd had with Khashoggi was via text in October 2017.

Fatimah Baeshen, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, told the Post that Khalid, who is the Saudi ambassador to the US, and Khashoggi never discussed "anything related to going to Turkey."

The CIA also examined an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate provided by Turkey and a phone call placed from inside the consulate after Khashoggi was killed, according to the Post.

Maher Mutreb, an alleged member of the Saudi hit team and a security official for the crown prince, placed the phone call to a top aide for bin Salman informing the aide that the job had been done, people familiar with the call told the newspaper.

The CIA does not know the location of Khashoggi's remains, according to the Post.

The Trump administration on Thursday imposed penalties on 17 individuals over their alleged roles in the killing of Khashoggi. Khashoggi's assassination has created a crisis for the Trump administration and drawn attention to President Donald Trump's business ties to Saudi Arabia and the relationship between bin Salman and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Earlier Thursday, the Saudi Public Prosecutor's Office said 11 people had been charged for their involvement in the death of Khashoggi, adding that five are facing capital punishment for being directly involved in "ordering and executing the crime."

Khashoggi was killed following "a fight and a quarrel" at the Saudi consulate, the prosecutor's office claimed. Prosecutors said Khashoggi was tied up and injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him. Then, according to prosecutors, his body was dismembered and removed from the consulate by five people.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
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Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
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Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
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Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
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George248148
Newton246862
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Jasper221148
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Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540083

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798481529
Mobile41283809
Madison35157506
Tuscaloosa25925455
Shelby25302249
Montgomery24723593
Baldwin21411310
Lee15993172
Calhoun14574319
Morgan14425280
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Marshall12280225
Houston10648282
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Limestone10070151
St. Clair9948245
Cullman9768194
Lauderdale9460243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8341176
Walker7261278
Autauga7005108
Jackson6840112
Blount6773139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5581118
Dale4877113
Russell445738
Chilton4373113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394877
Chambers3596123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303098
Winston275873
Bibb264764
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219169
Fayette212862
Henry189943
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178141
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
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