Despite Saudi Arabia’s explanation for journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death, which has undergone several iterations, the CIA reached a different determination.
According to a CNBC News report, the CIA determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. Officials close to the investigation told the Washington Post the details of the CIA’s findings. According to Saudi Arabia, the columnist died in an altercation last month in Istanbul.
A US official told the Post, “The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved.”
The CIA found a phone call between Khalid bin Salman, the crown prince’s brother and Saudi ambassador to the United States, and Khashoggi. During the call, the crown prince’s brother told the journalist to go to the consulate to pick up documents regarding his impending marriage to a Turkish citizen, according to a Fortune report. While the CIA did not know if Khalid knew of the plans to murder the columnist, he made the call to the journalist at his brother Mohammed’s direction.
On October 2, the journalist went into the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, and he never left. The earliest story of his death included an ambush by a team sent to Turkey to murder him and get rid of his body.
However, Saudi Arabia created many explanations for why Khashoggi died. Ultimately, authorities admitted that the Saudi government killed the journalist, but they kept the blame off of the country’s crown prince.
US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing. https://t.co/GczuGkAJsL— The Associated Press (@AP) November 17, 2018
The heir to the Saudi throne called the murder a “heinous crime,” and at least 18 people were detained in connection with the investigation, and as many as five of those people could receive the death penalty.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey disagree about the circumstances of the journalist’s death. Turkey gave tapes to the US and others to help with the investigation. Turkish officials believe that the recordings contain Khashoggi’s last moments alive.
According to the Chicago Tribune, several of the alleged assassins served on the crown prince’s security team, which provided further connections between the murder and the prince.
Saudi embassy spokeswoman Fatimah Baeshen made a statement that agreed that the phone call between Khashoggi and Khalid bin Salman took place, but she denied that it included any details about the journalist going to Turkey. She said, “We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations.”
Baeshen claimed that the CIA’s conclusions are incorrect.
President Donald Trump is reluctant to place the blame on Mohammed bin Salman for the journalist’s death, in part, because of the crown prince’s close relationship to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The Trump administration also believes that Saudi Arabia provides a check for Iran in the Middle East.