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CIA Reportedly Concluded Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi’s Assassination

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi sent shockwaves all over the world with demands for answers from Saudi Arabia, and now it turns out the CIA apparently believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was ordered by the Saudi crown prince himself.

The Washington Post––which has done a lot of stellar reporting on the lack of answers surrounding the assassination of their colleague––has new reporting out tonight about the CIA’s conclusion:

The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation and complicates the Trump administration’s efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally. A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence. Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.

The call was made at the direction of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman himself, though the Post report says “it is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed.”

A Saudi embassy spokesperson says the “purported assessment” of the CIA is “false.”

One notable element of this news is how President Donald Trump has been “skeptical that Mohammed ordered the killing,” getting frustrated at the lack of answers about where Khashoggi’s body is.

Yesterday the Post editorial board said the new cover story from Saudi Arabia of what happened “was shocking in its audacity.”

You can read the full report here.

[photo via AFP/Getty Images]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac