'The CIA believes Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to an advisor it alleges oversaw the team that killed Jamal Khashoggi in the hours surrounding the journalist’s death, according to a highly-classified assessment seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi royal family – was killed in October shortly after entering Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia has faced an international outcry over the killing, which the country has blamed on a kidnap operation by a group of “rogue” operatives.
The electronic messages reportedly sent by the crown prince were to former Saudi royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani, according to the CIA assessment. The content of the messages between the crown prince and Mr Qahtani is not known, the document says. It also does not say in what form the messages were sent.
Mr Qahtani was one of the officials that was sacked as part of the investigation by the Saudi public prosecutor into the killing. He was also one of 17 people sanctioned by the US Treasury Department whom the US had linked to the killing.
Saudi officials have repeatedly denied that Mohammed bin Salman had any involvement in the killing.
Excerpts of the CIA assessment, which cites electronic intercepts and other clandestine information, also reportedly states that in August 2017, the crown prince had told associates that if efforts to persuade Mr Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia were not successful, “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements”.'
Read more: CIA 'believes Saudi crown prince sent messages to team involved in Khashoggi killing'
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