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.
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.
A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment to the Post. The Saudi government has denied bin Salman’s involvement in Khashoggi’s death.
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 said, I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. Khalid says, I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim,
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 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.
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.