CIA Says Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi's Murder: Reports
The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
The findings reported by the Washington Post, contradicts Saudi government assertions that he was not involved.
The Post said US officials expressed high confidence in the CIA assessment, which is the most definitive to date linking Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler to the killing and complicates President Donald Trump's efforts to preserve US ties with one of the closest American allies in the region.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the accuracy of the report, but a source familiar with US intelligence assessments told Reuters US government experts assess with confidence that the crown prince ordered the operation that led to Khashoggi's death.
The White House declined to comment on the Post report, saying it was an intelligence matter. The State Department also declined to comment.
Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 when he went there to pick up documents he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.
Turkish officials have said the killing was intentional and have been pressuring Saudi Arabia to extradite those responsible to stand trial.
The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the CIA reached its conclusions after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince's brother, Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi.
Khalid told Khashoggi he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so, the Post said.
The newspaper, citing people familiar with the call, said it was not clear if Khalid knew Khashoggi would be killed but that he made the call at his brother's direction.
Ambassador Khalid bin Salman said in a tweet posted on Friday the last contact he had with Khashoggi was via text on October 26, 2017, nearly a year before the journalist's death.
"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," he wrote.
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