SMOKING GUN?

CIA Heard Audio of Saudi Crown Prince Giving Order to ‘Silence’ Jamal Khashoggi: Report

According to Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News, the CIA has a recording in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman can be heard giving the order to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible.” The claim has not yet been independently verified. Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, who broke the news of the first recording capturing Khashoggi’s death inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, reports that the CIA was listening in on the call between the crown prince and his brother, Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. “The crown prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during (a) CIA wiretapping,” the newspaper columnist claims. Selvi has also reported that CIA Director Gina Haspel “signaled” the existence of the tape during her trip to Ankara last month. Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement on the part of the crown prince, instead claiming Khashoggi’s killing was the result of a rogue operation. The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on 17 Saudi officials in connection with the murder but President Trump himself has vowed to uphold strong ties with the Saudi government even if Mohammed was behind the killing, suggesting earlier this week that economic ties should take priority over the death of someone deemed an “enemy of the state.” On Thursday, in response to a question on who should be held accountable for the crime, Trump refused to place any blame whatsoever. “Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a very, very vicious place,” he told reporters.