CIA Concludes that CP Muhammad bin Salman is Linked to Khashoggi’s Murder

20 Nov

16 November – At the very beginning when Khashoggi’s October 2nd disappearance at the Turkish embassy broke in the press, and I began to tweet about it – along with 1000s of you – I wrote that I was SURE #Khashoggi had been told “by someone he trusted״ that it was safe to go to the Istanbul consulate. That he was observant & no fool.

Today we learned from the CIA that the Ambassador to the US, Khalid bin Salman told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.”


this is is the same Ambassador who said “the reports that suggest that Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Consulate in Istanbul or that the Kingdom’s authorities have detained him or killed him are absolutely false.” That was before he hurriedly flew to Riyadh without any good-bye party and he has not returned to Washington DC.

Today, (Nov. 16) Khalid bin Salman denied communicating with Khashoggi, so did the embassy spokeswoman – but the CIA has intercepted a communication – WSJ suggests this was on Whats App. So that’s a lie. And the Congressional intel committee heard about this on Thursday

Andrea Mitchell Verified account @mitchellreports

Congressional intel committees were briefed Thursday that CIA believes Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi death 1st reported by @washingtonpost

Also today the funerary Salat al-Gha’ib (for the dead whose body is missing) was said for Khashoggi in Mecca, and in Medina, and also in the Fatih mosque in Istanbul.


To understand the timing of leaks or information to the media. Turkey has prodded with leaks obtained from its security officials aimed at the US. Why? Because Turkey thought the US has the most influence over Saudi Arabia and could convince it to cooperate more effectively with the investigation into the killing of Khashoggi (which Saudi Arabia has certainly not done – having ignored the extradition papers and refused to give information and told the Turkish investigators to come to Riyadh instead.)


There are two audiotapes under discussion. CIA chief Haspel heard the 7 min. tape previously (in which Khashoggi was actually killed) The timing of the CIA leak comes as the Saudis “concluded” their “investigation” so the off-record statement from the CIA about the communication from Khalid bin Salman (explaining why Khashoggi went to the consulate in Istanbul trusting in his safety) ‘should’ have an impact despite KbS’ denials.


Here was a heartfelt farewell and explanation of the funeral prayer for the “absent” by JK’s friend Yasin Aktay. Aktay is close to Erdogan and this explains why a call to him from JK’s fiancee rather quickly brought authorities’ attention to other details like the two teams of Saudis arriving that day by private aircraft.


The Washington Post’s smoking gun (as to the knowledge and direction by Muhammad bin Salman of the murder) is the communication between Khashoggi and Khalid bin Salman.   The CIA concludes that MbS knew that Khashoggi was directed to go to the embassy in Istanbul. Now, quite honestly, the CIA knew this after the audio tapes were heard and as it has been investigating multiple source of this information. Also remember there were already intercepted communications leaked about in the US concerning the luring of Khashoggi back to KSA (just not a direct message to him).


On BBC 5 Live (on which I was a guest on Nov. 16) we discussed whether this CIA assessment (& other new factors like the 15 minute audio which captured a discussion by the killers prior to Khashoggi’s entry to the consulate in which they reviewed their plan and their roles) are “enough” to implicate Muhammad bin Salman. My radio host has rightly emphasized that if all the millions and billions at stake in business, lobbying, arms sales and so on were not involved, then justice would be a simpler matter.

My radio host asked: “Can KSA ever be part of the internat’l community given this flagrant behavior?”


I can’t recall of my lengthy answer – it concerned the fact that pariah nations and pariah leaders ARE part of the international community but we need to force them to account for their actions, as just the day prior November 15th, two higher officials in Cambodia, one of them Pol Pot’s #2 had finally been sentenced.


And that I am certain that Saudi Arabians want to be part of the international community and deserve better [from their own government] (as Jamal Khashoggi himself wrote).

But that requires justice for Jamal, release of MANY political prisoners, a moratorium on arms sales, a change in policy on Yemen (which MbS has said is a bad idea), an end to guardianship for women and much more.

Khalid bin Salman’s irritated response complaining that the Washington Post hadn’t published the totality of his denial of communicating with Jamal Khashoggi shows that he doesn’t understand that the CIA wants the public to know what it knows and why. To force some hands. Because Kushner, Trump and many senators and congresspersons are in Muhammad bin Salman’s pocket.

Referring again to my first statement – that Jamal Khashoggi had to have been duped by someone to go to the consulate in Istanbul (rather than try to obtain his documents in DC where it is not impossible to be murdered [there was an assassination attempt on Adel al-Jubair] but it certainly would have been more dificult) I noticed that Iyad al-Baghdadi – a democracy activist also noticed that Jamal changed his plans in the period between August and September.


This pertains to BBC 5 Live’s question to me – did I think Jamal Khashoggi ever thought he’d be murdered. As I told BBC, he wouldn’t have dreamed he’d be murdered! Maybe a kidnapping was a fear, but with that reassurance from Khalid bin Salman, he would not have feared going to the consulate. Still, he left his telephone with his fiancee and she raised the alarm when he didn’t return.


From Iyad al-Baghdadi’s TL – “Then on October 15th, I received a leak from someone who claimed to be a Saudi source. He claimed that MBS “chose” Istanbul for disappearing Jamal way before the incident. He didn’t mention when, but he seemed to suggest it was weeks before.”


There is much more here to follow up on MbS closest advisors Saud al-Qahtani and Turki al-Sheikh, the sports empressario. #Khashoggi wrote that they were thuggish and that Muhammad bin Salman didn’t really have advisors, he had these two and others like them close to him.   Both were among kidnappers of the previous crown prince Mohammad Bin Nayef. #Egypt’s al-Ahly fans will agree after Turki al-Shaikh’s efforts in Egypt (see the article below)


Here are interesting details on al-Sheikh and al-Qahtani in James Dorsey’s piece.

Al-Qahtani was accused in one Turkish leak of directing the actual murder by Skype and saying about Khashoggi “bring me the head of the dog.” Al-Qahtani was relieved of some his many duties (we don’t know which). His official Twitter account seemed to have been taken over by someone else after October 24. However many Twitter accounts created in October ’18 which solely tweet support for Muhammad bin Salman or attack the Washington Post, or were attacking Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz may be the work of al-Qahtani, Mr. Hashtag.

Here are more details on al-Qahtani and al-Sheikh in Hubbard and Kirkpatrick’s NYT piece. The important detail – neither is among the initial 18 arrested (now 21 are reportedly arrested) for #Khashoggi‘s murder despite Turkish claims about al-Qahtani –


Back to the role of AMB Khalid bin Salman. If your older brother, the most powerful person in KSA asked to you to tell, or have someone else tell #Khashoggi to obtain a document in #Istanbul, would you do that? And would you ask why? As for me, I’d ask my brother. But, if he did not respond to my question, then I would assume – that nothing should be said. So Khalid bin Salman may not have known that any attack was being planned for Khashoggi. But certainly al-Otaibi, the general consul in Istanbul DID know. Did he know in advance? Well, he was present and arranged transportation for the team to the consulate. His voice is heard on the briefer of the two tapes, objecting to the murder being committed in his study and he was allegedly threatened by the murder team.


To find this thread on my Twitter TL – (there is a bit more about the actual number of women drivers – since MbS is touted as being a great reform, I thought we should look at that too)



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