Central Intelligence Agency briefing on Khashoggi solidifies senators’ view of Prince Mohammed’s complicity

Pauline Gross
December 6, 2018

He said it seemed as though the White House's response to the Khashoggi killing was that "you can kill a journalist".

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed two Senate committees on Capitol Hill earlier on Tuesday on the agency's findings about Khashoggi's murder.

Despite Donald Trump's desire to maintain close ties to Saudi Arabia, several of his fellow Republicans have joined Democrats in blaming the crown prince for Khashoggi's death and backing legislation to respond by ending USA support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen, imposing new sanctions and stopping weapons sales.

The senators--Republicans Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Todd Young, along with Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Ed Markey, and Chris Coons--make clear this is a message about the USA standing up for "who we are and what we believe".

The two-time Oscar victor was spotted directing Wednesday outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered with a bone saw October 2, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

Saudi officials say the men acted on their own authority and did not receive instructions from bin Salman to murder Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident with legal residency in the United States.

Corker has said he expects votes on amendments to the Yemen war powers resolution on Monday.

Corker suggested that President Donald Trump had condoned the murder of a journalist by refusing to condemn the Saudi crown prince. If he was in front of jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes, guilty.

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The Post reported on 16 November that the CIA's conclusion that the crown prince, known as MBS, ordered Khashoggi's murder came after it examined several pieces of intelligence, including an intercepted phone call between Khalid and the journalist.

And a Saudi embassy spokesperson tweeted Tuesday: "At no time did HRH (His Royal Highness) the Crown Prince correspond with any Saudi officials in any government entity on harming Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen".

Mattis and Pompeo have defended the strategic relationship and downplayed the crown prince's ties to the murder.

The administration has sanctioned 17 Saudis expected to involved, but lawmakers are demanding much more serious consequences.

The CIA director - who has reportedly heard an audio recording of the murder - did not attend a recent congressional briefing by cabinet members, dismaying lawmakers.

After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, Saudi Arabia admitted weeks later that he was killed there, blaming his death on a group of rogue Saudi operatives. He said you'd have to be "willfully blind" to ignore the evidence and that there is "zero chance" that MBS is innocent in the matter.

"There are lots of Republicans who are going to try to water this down, but they'll have to find 50 votes, and I'm not sure that they have 50 votes for a substitute".

Other reports by GizPress

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