Central Intelligence Agency says crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty against 5 suspects in Khashoggi killing

But the paper said that while the intercepts showed Prince Mohammed was working to lure Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the crown prince had not said in the calls that he wanted Khashoggi killed.

"I'm president - I have to take a lot of things into consideration", Trump said.

The official, Kirsten Fontenrose, had pushed for tough measures against the Saudi government and had been in Riyadh to discuss a raft of sanctions the U.S. government imposed in recent days against those identified as responsible for the killing, according to two people familiar with the conversations.

The CIA's conclusion about Mohammed's role was also based on its assessment of the prince as the country's de facto ruler who oversees even minor affairs in the kingdom.

Khashoggi, a United States resident and Washington Post columnist, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, sparking global outrage against the kingdom and its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

U.S. Intelligence reports that Saudi crown prince ordered killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi government denies claims; Kitty Logan reports from London.

It was claimed Prince Khalid made the call, on orders of the Crown Prince, to Khashoggi to tell him to travel to the Istanbul consulate to retrieve the documents, telling him it would be safe to visit.

Trump and top officials of his administration have said Saudi Arabia must be held to account for any involvement in Khashoggi's death, but they have also stressed the importance of the US-Saudi alliance.

"Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

- A total of 21 people, all Saudi citizens, are in custody in connection with Khashoggi's killing, the Saudi prosecutor's office said, without identifying them.

Visiting a Pacific regional conference in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence said Washington would "follow the facts" while trying to preserve a "strong and historic partnership" with Saudi Arabia.

A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman, reports The Washington Post.

United States officials have said Saudi Arabia, a major oil supplier, plays an important part in countering what they see as Iran's malign role in the region, and Trump has repeatedly said he does not want to imperil United States arms sales to the kingdom. Officials familiar with the case cautioned that while it's likely the crown prince was involved in the death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.

On his journey, he discussed the developments of the case with Central Intelligence Agency chief Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump has called the killing a botched operation that was carried out very poorly and has said 'the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups'.

Turkey has also provided the recording to Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

This week, the Treasury Department levied sanctions on seventeen individuals who are said to be involved in Khashoggi's death.

However, Prince Khalid declared in a tweet that he "certainly never suggested" to Khashoggi that he should go to Turkey.

It is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother's direction, according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by USA intelligence. "We're going to have to find out what they have to say".

However, Trump has resisted calls to reduce arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Maher Mutreb, an alleged member of the Saudi hit team and a security official for the crown prince, placed the phone call to a top aide for bin Salman informing the aide that the job had been done, people familiar with the call told the newspaper.

What was done with Khashoggi's remains afterwards is still unknown.



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