Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) reportedly told an aide in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi if he did not return to Saudi Arabia and stop criticizing the government. According to The New York Times, the September 2017 conversation between MBS and his aide, Turki Aldakhil, was intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies, and it took place the same month Khashoggi started writing critical opinion columns at the Post. MBS reportedly told Aldakhil that if Khashoggi could not be lured back to the country, he would go after the journalist “with a bullet.” Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just over a year later.
The Saudi government has denied that MBS played any role in Khashoggi’s death. Aldakhil told the Times the allegations against MBC were “a continuation of various efforts by different parties to connect His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to this horrific crime” and said the efforts will be “futile.” The National Security Agency and other U.S. agencies are currently going through years of intercepted communications from MBS, according to the Times. The NSA and CIA declined to comment to the newspaper.