CIA Concludes Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi Killing, Report Says

November 17, 2018, 12:01 AM UTC

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi the CIA has concluded, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The Post says the CIA had multiple sources of intelligence, which included a call between Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Saudi expatriate, with the crown prince’s brother, Khalid bin Salman, the country’s ambassador to the U.S. Khalid reportedly reassured Khashoggi that it would be safe to visit the embassy to pick up documents the writer needed to marry his fiancée, a Turkish citizen.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2, and never emerged. Within days, Turkish officials began providing information to journalists, both international and local, that indicated Khashoggi had been murdered by a team sent to Turkey specifically to ambush him and dispose of his body.

A spokesperson for the Saudi Embassy in Washington told The Post that the ambassador never spoke to Khashoggi about “anything related to going to Turkey.”

Saudi Arabia offered a series of changing and evolving explanations over weeks until the country admitted that members of the Saudi government had killed Khashoggi, but blame has so far been kept away from the crown prince, who called it “heinous crime.” Eighteen people said to be associated with the assassination were detained in Saudi Arabia, and five may face the death penalty.

The latest official explanation on Nov. 15 from the prosecutor’s office overseeing the Saudi investigation stated that a senior intelligence official ordered a team to retrieve Khashoggi by “persuasion, and if persuasion fails, to do so by force.” The prosecutor stated that the team’s leader decided to murder Khashoggi if negotiation failed.

This explanation contradicts information from Turkey, where a prosecutor there says Khashoggi was strangled. Turkey has provided tapes to the U.S. and other countries that it alleges recorded the final moments of Khashoggi’s life.