Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 assassination of critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He probably also ordered the liquidation. This is in a long-awaited report from the U.S. intelligence services that may come out on Thursday.
Several US officials have confirmed these conclusions of the secret report against Reuters and NBC News. The piece is the hardest evidence to date that the 35-year-old crown prince, the actual ruler of Saudi Arabia, was the evil genius behind The Assassination of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
President Biden wants to release a version of the report immediately after a telephone conversation with Saudi King Salman (85). Biden, who confirmed that he had read the play on Tuesday, was expected to talk to the monarch on Wednesday, but the White House has not yet confirmed that this has indeed happened. Releasing the report could lead to tensions with Saudi Arabia, the US’s main Arab ally.
Until now it was known that the CIA was ‘to a large extent’ sure that Bin Salman had ordered the murder. The CIA’s conclusions were confirmed weeks after the liquidation against the Washington Post and The New York Times. According to sources, The New York Times, would have the intelligence, among other things, to have this decision and have been based on intercepted conversations of the crown prince in the days before the murder.
Eavesdropping between the 15-man Murder Squad and a high-ranking employee of Bin Salman would also have killed the Crown Prince. CIA intelligence is an important part of the report now being released by Washington. The Congress was informed of the secret report at the end of 2018. However, President Trump refused to accept requests from parliamentarians and human rights groups to release a modified, less secret version.
Trump did not want relations with the Saudis to deteriorate. However, the new top boss of all U.S. intelligence agencies, Avril Haines, recently promised before her appointment that she would release the report soon. According to a law passed in 2019, her predecessor had to do the same, but she refused to comply.
Khashoggi (59), who was critical of Bin Salman in his columns, disappeared in October 2018 after a visit to the consulate. It soon turned out that he had become the target of a Saudi killing squad. His body was cut to pieces, but the remains were never found. According to a UN investigation, the murder squad flew the same night in two private planes back to the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
According to the Saudi government, Bin Salman had nothing to do with the murder, but Khashoggi had died in a failed attempt to bring him to Saudi Arabia. The team responsible for this would have acted on its own. Five of them were later sentenced to death. However, their sentence was commuted to twenty years in prison after Khashoggi’s family had forgiven them.
Secret Saudi documents that have surfaced during a lawsuit that is now in Canada show that the company that owns the two aircraft came under the care of Bin Salman a year before the murder. At the end of 2017, the flying company was transferred to the Welfare Fund of the country on behalf of the crown prince, according to documents that CNN has seen. This fund, which contains some 327 billion euros, falls directly under the Crown Prince.