CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s death, sources say

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s death, sources say

A phone call from the Saudi ambassador to the United States to Khashoggi, audio recordings from Turkish officials, and the fact that some members of the 15-person team who carried out the operation have been on Mohammed's security team led to the CIA's conclusion, The Post says.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement Saturday, asserting that Washington has not yet made any "final conclusion". "Recent reports indicating that the USA government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate".

"There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi".

The CIA's assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive so far linking the prince to the operation and complicates the Trump administration's efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally.

Saudi has offered conflicting accounts of what happened to Khashoggi before finally admitting that he was killed in a brawl after the officials tried to return him to the kingdom.

On Thursday, without naming them, Shalaan said the Saudi prosecutor had requested the death penalty for five individuals "charged with ordering and committing the crime, and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals".

Blunt said that the White House must be careful in its response and not act without knowing what the consequences will be, citing the potential impact on the regional balance in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The location of Khashoggi's remains remain unknown.

But they have also stressed the importance of Washington's ties with Riyadh, one of the biggest clients of the USA defense industry.

Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States, was a columnist for the Post and often criticized the royal family.

They first said that Khashoggi left the consulate the same day he arrived to get a marriage license on October 2.

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"And I also take that - you know, I'm president - I have to take a lot of things into consideration".

"They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development", Trump said.

There is no explicit conclusive evidence, a "smoking gun" so to say, but the extent to which the Crown Prince is involved even in the minor affairs of the Kingdom, suggest that it would be naïve to assume otherwise.

Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said "the Saudis have been duplicitous since the very beginning".

If confirmed, the USA assessment would directly contradict the conclusions of a Saudi prosecutor a day earlier, which exonerated the prince of involvement in the brutal murder.

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

The Trump administration this week sanctioned 17 Saudi officials for their alleged role in the killing.

As expected, the Saudi government has denied the CIA's findings.

The president also said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has assured him that he wasn't involved in the journalist's death despite news reports saying the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that the royal ordered the killing.

Sources quoted in the USA media stressed that there was no single piece of evidence linking the crown prince directly to the murder, but officials believe such an operation would have needed his approval.

Audio provided by a listening device the Turks placed inside the Saudi consulate showed that Khashoggi was killed within minutes of entering the consulate, according to officials in multiple countries who have listened to it.

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