U.S. intelligence officials are becoming more convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The New York Times reported late Wednesday.
“American intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is culpable in the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an appraisal that poses challenges to a White House intent on maintaining a close relationship with the kingdom,” the newspaper claimed.
“Intelligence agencies have not yet been able to collect direct evidence of the prince’s involvement, American and European officials said. They also have not been able to conclude whether Prince Mohammed directly ordered the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, or whether his intention was to have Mr. Khashoggi captured and taken back to Saudi Arabia,” the paper reported, citing one official.
Missing Saudi journalist’s fate still uncertain
Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's fate is still uncertain since he went missing earlier this month.Khashoggi has long been feared killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after he entered on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.On the same day, 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate building while Khashoggi was still inside, Turkish police sources said. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey. Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of Khashoggi’s fate, while several countries -- particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the U.K. -- have expressed their desire that the matter should be elucidated as soon as possible.Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, called Yasin Aktay, advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turan Kislakci, head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association as Khashoggi didn't return from the consulate.The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation on the same day into claims about Khashoggi's detention in the consulate building.US conveys willingness to help Turkey on Khashoggi case'Turkey serious amid US cleanup of journalist case'- Oct. 4The Saudi Consulate in Istanbul said Khashoggi went missing after he left the building and they were in contact with Turkish officials to bring out the facts.- Oct. 6Turkish police sources said 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the Saudi Consulate while Khashoggi was still inside on Oct. 2. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.- Oct. 7In a Twitter post, Saudi Consulate rejected claims that Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "Whatever comes of this, we will be the ones to declare it to the world."- Oct. 9U.S. President Donald Trump voiced concern over disappearance of the journalist.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Saudi government to support a “thorough investigation” into the matter.U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said they have requested a detailed and transparent investigation from the Saudi government.Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: "A search will be conducted in the building [of consulate] as part of the investigation."Turkish diplomatic sources said Saudi Arabia invited Turkish experts and officials to visit the consulate.The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office assigned an acting chief prosecutor and a public prosecutor to carry out the procedural acts at the consulate as part of the investigation of the issue.- Oct. 10Citing U.S. intelligence intercepts, the Washington Post reported Saudi Crown Prince Salman sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him.- Oct. 11Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an intense and comprehensive investigation into disappearance of Khashoggi.Turkish Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said a joint working group to probe Khashoggi’s disappearance was decided to be established upon Saudi Arabia's offer.- Oct. 12Washington Post and CNN claimed Turkey has “shocking” audio and visual evidence that indicate Khashoggi was killed at the consulate.A Saudi delegation came to Turkey over Khashoggi's disappearance.- Oct. 15Saudi and Turkish officials in the joint working group gathered at police headquarters in Istanbul.The meeting lasted for almost two hours and later the officials visited Saudi Consulate.- Oct. 16Turkish and Saudi officials left the consulate nine hours after they searched the building.Pompeo met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss Khashoggi's disappearance.Turkish Foreign Ministry sources said a search will be carried out at the Saudi consul's residence in Istanbul.Saudi Arabia's Consul General in Istanbul Mohammad al-Otaibi left Turkey for Riyadh.- Oct. 17Pompeo arrived in Turkey after his visit to Riyadh and discussed Khashoggi case with Erdogan and Cavusoglu.
But “intelligence agencies have growing circumstantial evidence of the prince’s involvement,” the report said, citing American officials.
“The prince’s complete control over the security services makes it highly unlikely that an operation would have been undertaken without his knowledge,” it added.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that some of the suspects identified by Turkey in Khashoggi’s disappearance had ties to the Crown Prince.
Khashoggi has long been feared killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was never seen leaving.
On the same day, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
US conveys willingness to help Turkey on Khashoggi case
The U.S. on Wednesday reiterated willingness to assist Turkey in its investigation of the missing Saudi journalist.The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed "a range of issues of bilateral importance" during meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.Syria, Iran, and counterterrorism were among the issues addressed."The Secretary welcomed the decision to return Pastor Andrew Brunson and reiterated the United States’ willingness to assist Turkey in its investigation of the Jamal Khashoggi case," the statement said.Prior to his visit to Ankara, Pompeo went to Saudi Arabia, where he held talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the disappearance of Khashoggi.Recordings reveal Khashoggi tortured then dismembered while still aliveKhashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper, has long been feared killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after he entered on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.On Monday, Turkish and Saudi officials searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after the start of a joint probe into the missing journalist.Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of what happened to Khashoggi, while several countries -- particularly Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K. -- are pressing for the mystery to be cleared up as soon as possible.Prince Salman can't quash murder probe: Wasington Post columnPompeo and Cavusoglu also addressed the detention of Dr. Serkan Golge and other U.S. citizens as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Turkey.
'Turkey serious amid US cleanup of journalist case'
The Washington Post on Wednesday accused the Trump administration of trying to “clean up the Saudis’ mess” while praising Turkey's resolve to clear up the case of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who went missing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.In an editorial, “Why is the Trump administration cleaning up Saudi Arabia’s mess?” the paper began by criticizing the visit by Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, to see Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh.“Pompeo, who smiled broadly as he greeted Prince Salman, appeared less intent on determining the truth than in helping the de facto Saudi ruler escape from the crisis he triggered,” said the unsigned editorial.Saudi Arabia pays Washington $100M as Pompeo lands in Riyadh“The Saudis are said to be preparing a cover story that will attribute Mr. Khashoggi’s murder to the excesses of a team that was dispatched to interrogate him. That would deflect blame from the crown prince, who in fact is believed to have ordered and overseen the operation.” It added that in a phone call with Salman, U.S. “President Trump signaled that he is more than ready to assist in that dodge.”President Erdoğan looks ‘serious’“Back in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appeared more serious about trying to discover the truth,” continued the editorial.Pompeo tells Erdoğan US willing to aid Khashoggi probe“But [Turkey's] probe faced considerable obstacles: Erdoğan told reporters that the investigators who were finally allowed into the consulate encountered freshly painted walls. Turkish sources told the Associated Press (AP) they have found more evidence backing up their claim that Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered shortly after entering the compound.”The editorial argued that what “should not be acceptable is a diplomatic cleanup operation conducted by the Trump administration for” Saudi Arabia.Khashoggi is feared killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.On the same day, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside, Turkish police sources said. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.'Prince Salman can't quash murder probe': Wasington Post columnTurkey hopes to enter Saudi consul’s residence on Wednesday: FM