Saudi crown prince sent messages to aide during Khashoggi killing

Communications intercepted between the Saudi crown prince and the aide who oversaw the Khashoggi murder bolsters the CIA assessment that the prince was behind the plan.

    2018/12/04

NSFW    ISTANBUL — The CIA has evidence of multiple messages between the Saudi crown prince and the adviser who oversaw the Khashoggi assassination — bolstering the agency's assessment that the prince masterminded the murder.

The Washington Post reports that according to a leaked CIA report, Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to a close personal aide before and after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The aide, Saud Al-Qahtani, reportedly supervised the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi on October 2, and communicated directly with the team's leader Maher Mutreb in Istanbul.

According to the New York Times, Turkish intelligence recorded Mutreb on a phone call, saying 'tell your boss' that the mission had been carried out. It's believed he was talking to Qahtani.

In communications intercepted by the U.S. intelligence community in August 2017, the prince told associates that if Khashoggi could not be persuaded to return to Saudi Arabia, they could lure him outside the country and make arrangements.

The content and form of the prince's messages to Qahtani are unknown, and there's currently no evidence irrefutably linking him to the killing.

Despite this, this, the CIA believes such an operation would not have been possible without his awareness or involvement. And unless more evidence surfaces, it's the closest they have to a smoking gun.
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