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Pompeo Gave Saudis Plan to Shield Crown Prince From Khashoggi Fallout: Report

During his trip to the kingdom last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly provided Saudi Arabia with a detailed plan on how to make sure Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was protected from the fallout over writer Jamal Khashoggi’s murder—and possibly pin the killing on an innocent person. Middle East Eye reports Pompeo delivered the plan during a meeting with Saudi King Salman and and the crown prince last month in Riyadh. The U.S. State Department strongly denied the existence of the plan. The “roadmap” allegedly includes an option to pin the murder on an innocent member of the ruling family to avoid blame falling on those at the top. That fall guy has not been chosen, according to the report, and Saudi leaders are said to be reserving that plan in case the criticism of the crown prince intensifies. “We would not be surprised if that happens,” a source told the Middle East Eye. The U.S. State Department called the allegations “a complete misrepresentation of the secretary’s diplomatic mission to Saudi Arabia.”