Investigators in Turkey are searching for the body of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who they say was killed by 15 men inside the Saudi Arabia consulate building in Istanbul on October 2. Turkey stepped forward soon after news of Khashoggi’s disappearance broke, saying they could provide the U.S. with proof that the Washington Post writer was killed. Some of that proof is in the form of an audio recording that allegedly captured the killing.
On Thursday, an official in Turkey told ABC News that Mike Pompeo has heard the audio recording.
Turkey has conducted a massive investigation into the journalist’s disappearance. The consulate building and the consul’s home have been searched by investigators. Samples from those locations have been sent for DNA testing. Now, officials are looking for Khashoggi’s body in forests and farmlands, the BBC reports.
Khashoggi, a Saudi, lived in the U.S. and wrote critically many times about Saudi Arabia’s royal leadership. The Washington Post recently published his most recent piece, likely to be his last. It was an article calling for freedom of the press in Saudi Arabia, a right that country does not currently have. Chillingly, Khashoggi warned in the article that efforts to silence the media are increasing in the Middle East, according to ABC News.
In addition to audio evidence of the killing, Turkish officials have stated they have video evidence as well.
Saudi Arabia’s King and crown prince have denied having any knowledge of the disappearance and presumed death of Jamal Khashoggi. The royal family also suggested that rogue agents may have killed the journalist, an opinion Donald Trump echoed earlier this week. Trump has been quick to defend Saudi Arabia, a long-standing U.S. ally.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia exchange massive amounts of oil and money, and Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest buyer of U.S. weapons.
Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this week to speak with the king. The conversation reportedly lasted about 15 minutes.
Jamal Khashoggi walked into the consulate building on October 2 to obtain paperwork to get married. He was never seen walking back out of the building.
The Turkish media has reported extensively on the audio recording, which allegedly contains the sounds of screams and the voice of the Saudi consul Mohammed al-Otaibi. Turkish officials have also released passport photos of people they say are among the 15 killers who carried out the deed.
Many human interest groups have called for the UN to investigate the disappearance.
The White House has not confirmed that Secretary Pompeo listened to the audio, but Trump’s talking points changed on Thursday quite suddenly. Now, he’s saying it “certainly looks” like Khashoggi is dead, as reported by the Inquisitr.