According to NBC News, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has officially confirmed to the press that Canadian intelligence has listened to the tapes that recorded the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a press conference held in Paris on Monday, November 12, Trudeau revealed that Canadian agents had listened to the tapes, although he himself had not personally heard them.
“Canada’s intelligence agencies have been working very closely on this issue with Turkish intelligence, Canada has been fully briefed on what Turkey had to share,” Trudeau said.
Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post, and was openly critical of Saudi Arabia ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. On October 2, after Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, he was reportedly murdered by a team sent from Ridyah. NBC News reported that Khashoggi was strangled before being dismembered. His body had yet to be retrieved. Saudi authorities admitted that while the killing was indeed premeditated, the crime was committed by rogue operatives.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that Turkey had given the recordings of the incident to Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France, and Britain. Not much is known about what specifically can be heard on the tapes, and Trudeau did not share what Canadian intelligence distinctly detected, nor if the tapes depict that the killing occurred in the consulate.
Trudeau said that Canada was working with “like-minded” allies to decide on what steps to take regarding the situation going forward. According to the Guardian, Trudeau also stated that he had spoken with Erdoğan and praised him on how he handled the circumstances.
“I had a conversation with Erdoğan a couple of weeks ago, and here in Paris we had brief exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation,” Trudeau said.
Erdoğan has reportedly been advocating for Western countries to demand Saudi Arabia turn in the culprits of the murder, and also stated that he believed that this was not the doing of operatives gone rogue, but were instead under the orders of Mohammed bin Salman. While other countries have yet to officially confirm their possession of the tapes aside from Canada, leaders from various other countries have hinted of the tapes’ existence.
Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidency communications director, confirmed that “evidence” had been “shared with the relevant agencies of the French government.” Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for the German chancellor Angela Merkel, stated that there had been “exchange of intelligence service information” with German authorities. Trudeau, however, is the first Western leader to outright state that his country’s intelligence had heard the tapes.