The crown prince has denied any involvement or knowledge of the murder of Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, on Oct 2 this year at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which he visited to get a document for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancee.
The White House declined to comment on the Post report, saying it was an intelligence matter. The State Department also declined to comment.
The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the CIA reached its conclusions after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother – Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States – had with Khashoggi.
Khalid told Khashoggi he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so, the Post said. The newspaper, citing people familiar with the call, said it was not clear if Khalid knew Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother’s direction.
Maher Mutreb, a security official who has often been seen at the crown prince’s side, made the call to Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed, to inform him the operation had been completed, the Post said, citing people familiar with the call.
After the Post published its story, Khalid bin Salman denied telling Khashoggi to go to Turkey. He tweeted that the last contact he had with Khashoggi was via text on 26 October 2017, nearly a year before the journalist’s death. “I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim,” he said in his Twitter message.
In a second tweet, he published what he said was his full response to the newspaper.
The claim had been contradicted by an earlier Saudi finding that the murder was premeditated. “Mohammed bin Salman was not implicated in the murder,” a spokesman for the prosecutor said. (UNI)