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CIA Concludes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Ordered Khashoggi Killing

The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded Saudi Arabian Crown Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in early October, The Washington Post reports. The CIA reportedly examined multiple pieces of evidence to come to the “high confidence” conclusion, including a phone call between Khashoggi and the crown prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman. Khalid, who is also the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., reportedly told Khashoggi it would be safe for him to “go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul” to retrieve documents he needed to marry his fiancée. It is reportedly unclear if Khalid knew Khashoggi was going to be killed, but the agency concluded he made the call at the crown prince’s direction. The agency examined another call made from one of the alleged kill team members, Maher Mutreb, to one of the crown prince’s top aides, Saud al-Qahtani. Mutreb reportedly told al-Qahtani the “operation had been completed.” The CIA reportedly believes the crown prince wanted Khashoggi dead because he saw Khashoggi as “dangerous Islamist who was too sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.” The agency also believes the crown prince is likely to politically survive the incident, with one official telling the Post his role as future Saudi king is “taken for granted.” Khashoggi disappeared in early October after entering Istanbul’s Saudi Arabian consulate, with U.S. and Turkish intelligence reportedly indicating that a 15-man team flew into Istanbul to kill Khashoggi inside the consulate.