Washington: Saudi’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, concluded the US Central Intelligence Agency as reported by The Washington Post on Friday. Also Read - Indian Businessman Donates Entire Building For Coronavirus Quarantine in Dubai
According to the CIA findings, 15 Saudi agents flew on government aircraft to Istanbul and assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate, the report claimed. However, no official confirmation on the same has been made by the CIA itself yet. Also Read - Watch: Saudi Doctor Returns Home, Breaks Down in Tears After Stopping Son From Hugging Him
The journalist had notably, gone to the consulate to obtain documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiancee. Also Read - G-20 Countries to Inject $5 Trillion Into Global Economy to Combat COVID-19: Report
The development comes amid Saudi Arabia’s repeated change in its official narrative of the October 2 murder. Firstly, it denied having any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts and later saying he was killed when an argument degenerated into a fistfight.
In the latest version presented by the Saudi prosecutor on Thursday, a 15-member squad was formed to bring Khashoggi back from Istanbul “by means of persuasion” — but instead ended up killing the journalist and dismembering his body in a “rogue” operation. The Public Prosecution claimed that the scribe was allegedly injected with an overdose of a drug and killed by the agents of the country.
As per the The Washington Post report, the CIA scrubbed multiple intelligence sources, among them a phone call between the prince’s brother — the Saudi ambassador to the United States — and Khashoggi in which the former told the late journalist that he would be safe to go to the consulate in Istanbul and get the papers he needed.
Quoting a CIA official, the report also said that in determining the Crown Prince’s role, he was considered a “de facto ruler” in Saudi Arabia. Dubbing Prince Mohammed a “good technocrat”, the official also called him someone unpredictable who “goes from zero to 60, doesn’t seem to understand that there are some things you can’t do”.
Following the reported conclusions by the US intelligence agency, the threat over relations between Washington and key ally Riyadh grows even more.
Meanwhile on Friday, US President Donald Trump, who has till now shied from directly blaming the Crown Prince, agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “any cover up of the incident should not be allowed.”
(With inputs from PTI)