THE PLOT THICKENS

Top Saudi Aide Coordinated Khashoggi’s Killing Via Skype: Report

A top aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the brutal killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi via a Skype call, according to sources cited Monday by Reuters. A high-ranking Arab source told Reuters that after Khashoggi was detained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his captors called Saud al-Qahtani via Skype. Qahtani reportedly began yelling insults at Khashoggi, who responded in kind. Eventually, according to a Turkish intelligence source, Qahtani told Khashoggi’s captors to “bring me the head of the dog.” The recording of the Skype call is reportedly in the hands of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who said Sunday that he would speak more on the investigation during a Tuesday speech.

Reuters also reported that Qahtani called Khashoggi multiple times before his death, inviting him to come back to Saudi Arabia and offering him a job. Khashoggi, who distrusted Qahtani, reportedly told a friend: “[Qahtani] thinks that I will go back so that he can throw me in jail?” Qahtani is one of the few men who has faced repercussions over Khashoggi’s death, Reuters notes. He was fired by King Salman Saturday alongside four other officials. Sources with ties to the royal court told Reuters that Qahtani and Mohammed bin Salman were so close that it’s unlikely the prince didn’t know of the operation, despite his insistence that he was not part of the plan to kill the journalist. An NBC News report also revealed that Khashoggi met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s brother at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., in “early 2018 or late 2017.”