Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an intelligence report released Friday by the Biden administration and quoted by NBC News.
The report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, based its findings on the Crown Prince’s “absolute control” of Saudi Arabia’s security and intelligence agencies, “making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.”
Saudi Arabia has admitted that Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, after initially denying Turkish claims that he was murdered.
The CIA-led assessment, which had been classified until Friday, comes as US President Joe Biden aims to reshape the US relationship with Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, before the release of the report, Biden spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
A readout from the US made no direct reference to the Khashoggi report or to the Saudi Crown Prince, but noted that Biden emphasized importance of human rights and rule of law.
The White House had made clear this week that Biden does not view 35-year-old bin Salman as his counterpart and will instead conduct relations through his father, King Salman.
Khashoggi’s murder resulted in tensions between lawmakers and the White House. Trump had reaffirmed his support for Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of Khashoggi, insisting the US-Saudi Arabian alliance is beneficial not only for American interests, but also for those of Israel.
Lawmakers from both parties, meanwhile, had called for a strong US response to Khashoggi’s murder.
Source: Arutz Sheva