CNN News reported that according to a senior US official and a source familiar with the matter, the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, despite the Saudi government’s denials that the de facto ruler was involved.
The reported stated that US officials expressed high confidence in the CIA Assessment, which contradicts Saudi government assertions that he was involved in it. As such, a senior US official told the news on Friday that the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government, and other pieces of evidence, including American intelligence.
The further lamented that the CIA based its assessment on available intelligence, as opposed to any specific smoking gun-type evidence, which contradicts Donald Trump’s efforts to safeguard US ties with one of the closest American allies in the region.
This news understands the crowned prince has denied any involvement or knowledge in the murder of Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to the Washington Post, on October 2nd this year at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which he visited to get a document for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancé.
Before leaving for California on Saturday morning to tour an area ravaged by wildfires, Trump told reporters that the CIA had not briefed the White House on the issue as yet. The president, however, added that he was planning to speak with them during the flight.
“As of this moment, we were told that he did not play a role, we’re gonna have to find out what they say,” Trump said.
When pressed on what the White House would do if the crown prince was found responsible, Trump said: “We’re taking a look at it. You know, we also have a great ally in Saudi Arabia. They give us a lot of jobs and a lot of business and economic development. They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development.”
However, after the CIA report was released, the State Department has declined to comment on the story.