No doubt that MBS ordered Khashoggi killing, says Central Intelligence Agency

Leroy Wright
December 5, 2018

Under mounting pressure from lawmakers who wanted action against Riyadh, Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told senators there was no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder. "If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man for a long time to come I find it very hard to do business because I think he's insane, I think he is unsafe and he has put the relationship at risk".

Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he now has "zero question" in his mind "that the crown prince directed the murder".

Lindsey Graham, a Republican, made the blunt comments following a briefing from the Central Intelligence Agency about Mr Khashoggi, who was killed after he entered Saudi Arabia's consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on 2 October. "There's a smoking saw", Graham said.

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"I think they're making a wrong calculation", New Jersey Democratic Sen.

The CIA has determined that bin Salman was heavily involved in the decision to kill Khashoggi.

Graham made the unambiguous rebuke following a classified briefing on the murder with CIA Director Gina Haspel, who is one of the only USA officials who listened to the audio recording of Khashoggi's death.

Corker is confident that the crown prince is culpable in the murder. He said it seemed as though the White House's response to the Khashoggi killing was that "you can kill a journalist".

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"To let it stand, in essence allows somebody like MBS to continue with immunity which is inappropriate", Corker said, adding that the Trump administration "puts Congress in a place where now we feel like we need to speak out, that this can not stand".

National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared uninterested last week in an audio recording of the killing that Turkish investigators shared with the US intelligence community.

The Saudis denied for several days having involvement in Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and killing.

"The views that I had before have only solidified", said senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

With many senators furious about being excluded from the briefing, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded Haspel "brief the full Senate without delay".

Senators from both parties were upset that Haspel was not part of a recent closed-door session with top administration officials about Khashoggi's killing and the US response. Some senators want to pass the Yemen resolution.

Bin Salman has denied any knowledge of the plot to torture, murder and dismember Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October and the US has waffled on whether it believes his denials.

Unconvinced by them and incensed by the administration's refusal to send the Central Intelligence Agency director to the hearing, Republicans and Democrats had joined hands to vote to bring to a legislative measure halting United States support to the Saudi-led ruling forces in Yemen fighting Iranian-backed Houthis.

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