The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
According to the report, citing people close to the matter, 15 Saudi agents flew on government aircraft to Istanbul and assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate. The CIA findings came a day after a Saudi prosecutor cleared the powerful Prince of his involvement in the brutal murder of Khashoggi – a Washington Post columnist.
After initially denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, Saudi Arabia later said that the journalist was killed inside the consulate after an argument turned into a fight.
The CIA investigated multiple intelligence inputs and a phone call between the Saudi Crown Prince’s brother – the Saudi ambassador to the United States – and Khashoggi. Prince’s brother had assured Khashoggi of safety and directed him to visit the Istanbul consulate to collect the documents he needed for his marriage.
The CIA claimed that the ambassador made the phone call on directions of his brother. However, it was not yet clear if the ambassador was also aware of the assassination plan.
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The brutal murder of the journalist sparked a foreign policy crisis in the US with President Donald Trump calling the murder “worst cover-up in history”. He, however, shied away from directly blaming the prince.