CIA reportedly concludes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered killing of Jamal Khashoggi
The CIA believes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it has been reported
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia's current leadership, died in Istanbul in October. He had disappeared during a visit to the Saudi consulate in the city, where he had gone to pick up documentation ahead of his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.
Though the Saudi government have so far denied that Prince Mohammed had any role in Khashoggi's death, claiming it was the work of a 'rogue operation', The Washington Post now report that the CIA have reached a contradictory conclusion on the matter.
The CIA are said to have examined multiple sources of evidence before reaching their assessment, including an intercepted phone call between Khashoggi and the crown prince's brother, Prince Khaled bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the US.
It is alleged Prince Khaled made the call, in which he assured Khashoggi he would be safe to go to the consulate to pick up the documentation, at the direction of his brother.
Prince Khaled, who is now back in Saudi Arabia, has denied the claim, saying on Twitter that he had not been in contact with Khashoggi for nearly a year.
The sources quoted in the American media have stressed that there was no single piece of evidence linking the crown prince directly to the murder, but that officials are of the belief that the carrying out of such an operation would have needed his approval first.
"The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved," an official who is familiar with the CIA's assessment is quoted as telling The Washington Post.
So far, the White House has declined to comment on the matter, though it is likely to place more pressure on the US's relationship with Saudi Arabia, one of its strongest allies in the Middle East.