The United States has sent CIA Director Gina Haspel to Turkey on Monday to investigate the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to CNBC.
Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post and well-known for his open criticism of the Saudi royal family. He disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Speculation by the Turkish authorities revealed that the journalist was killed inside the consulate, but Saudi Arabia insisted that he had left the consulate safely.
However, as Turkish authorities produced evidence that the journalist was indeed killed and the international community exerted pressure on the Saudi government, the general prosecutor of the kingdom announced on Saturday morning that Khashoggi died inside the consulate.
According to the Saudi government, Khashoggi died as a result of a fight that took place inside the consulate, but Turkish authorities told the New York Times that they found audio evidence proving that the journalist was “tortured, killed, and subsequently dismembered by a hit team of Saudi agents,” per CNBC.
As part of a previously scheduled meeting, the United States Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Monday and talked about “fighting terrorism funding and Iran,” the CNBC report said. Earlier, Secretary Mnuchin had withdrawn from the Future Investment Initiative conference, which is scheduled to take place in the Saudi capital of Riyadh this week, citing concerns over the Kingdom’s role in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Regarding Gina Haspel’s departure to Turkey, a report by CNN said that the CIA did not respond when asked to verify the news. However, a report by Reuters said that the news came from two sources who are familiar with Haspel’s travel plans.
According to USA Today, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he is not “satisfied” with Saudi Arabia’s version of Khashoggi’s death and will carry out an investigation, but also added that he did not want to sever business ties with the Kingdom.
“I don’t want to lose all that investment that’s been made in our country. But we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
He also mentioned that the U.S. has “top intelligence people” in Turkey to investigate the matter, but did not provide further details, per Reuters.
Earlier on Monday, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner told CNN that he had urged Saudi Arabia’s crown prince to be “transparent about Khashoggi” and told him that the “world is watching.”
The Reuters report also added that a senior administration official has revealed that Jared Kushner has a personal relationship with Prince Mohammed, therefore, he has urged President Trump to “act with caution to avoid upsetting a critical strategic and economic relationship.”