Jamal Khashoggi: US intelligence officials think Saudi Crown Prince ordered killing

Turkey Saudi Arabia Writer Killed

Members of Arab Turkish Media Association and friends hold posters as they attend funeral prayers for Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi

President Donald Trump said Saturday morning that he had not yet been briefed on the CIA's assessment, but planned to speak with the agency and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his flight to California. Recent reports indicating that the United States government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate.

The State Department confirmed it will continue investigating the murder of Mr Khashoggi, who was killed in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consular on October 2. "They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development".

The latest official explanation on November 15 from the prosecutor's office overseeing the Saudi investigation stated that a senior intelligence official ordered a team to retrieve Khashoggi by "persuasion, and if persuasion fails, to do so by force".

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor announced it would seek the death penalty for five of 11 suspects, even though Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the killing was ordered at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.

The ambassador, Prince Khalid bin Salman, swiftly denied that he had spoken with Mr Khashoggi on the phone or that he suggested he go to Turkey "for any reason".

The location of Khashoggi's remains remain unknown. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump called the assessment "very premature" but did not entirely rule out the possibility of Prince Mohammed's involvement. "We should note, too, that the president has been briefed on the CIA's findings and what we understand is that he keeps resisting them because he doesn't have, I guess, the smoking gun".

The Turkish government handed audio recordings of Khashoggi's killing to the United States and other countries.

It is not known if Prince Khalid knew Khashoggi would be killed.

"The thing about sanctions is that I think sanctions are pretending to do something without really doing anything", Paul said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

President Donald Trump has been slow to say whether he believes Mohammed bin Salman is behind the killing.

Saudi Writer Killed
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in October

The CIA's reported conclusion came as a result of "an understanding of how Saudi Arabia works", a USA official with knowledge of the situation told The Journal.

He was killed October 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi, 59, was a contributor to The Washington Post and a Saudi Arabian national who frequently wrote editorials critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He was reportedly murdered by Maher Mutreb, a security official who has been seen with Crown Prince and was part of the 15-member team.

President Donald Trump is still praising Saudi Arabia as a "truly spectacular ally", despite the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly pinning blame for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder on the Saudi royal family.

"The claims in this purported assessment is false", a spokesperson for the Saudi Embassy in Washington said in a statement.

Riyadh was not the only party that accused the Qatari media of launching, and exploiting the case of Khashoggi, and continuing to run an organized campaign against Saudi Arabia, Hudson Institute Senior Follow Lee Smith had the same views.

This past week, US intelligence officials briefed members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, and the Treasury Department announced economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the killing.

Where does it leave the fate of Mohamed bin Salman?

"The general agreement is that he is likely to survive", the official said, adding that Mohammed's future role is "taken for granted".

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