Khashoggi: CIA Assessment and Reports of Prior Marriage

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have secretly gotten married in the U.S. last June.

The Washington Post reports a CIA assessment of Khashoggi's murder led the agency to conclude the Crown Prince ordered it.

The CIA assessment relies in part on a phone call that was intercepted by Intelligence between the Crown Prince's brother, who is the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and Khashoggi. Apparently, the Ambassador told Khashoggi it was safe to go pick up the documents for his marriage at the Embassy. [More...]

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 U.S. intelligence.

I would think the Saudis will not be pleased that the U.S. is intercepting phone calls of their U.S. Ambassador. (The article states the U.S. would not have been intercepting Khashoggi because he lived in Virginia.)

In any event, the Saudis are denying there was such a call.

Fatimah Baeshen, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, said the ambassador and Khashoggi never discussed “anything related to going to Turkey.” She added that the claims in the CIA’s “purported assessment are false.

The Post didn't claim they discussed going to Turkey. Khashoggi was already in Turkey -- they allegedly talked about going to the Saudi embassy in Turkey. More baffling is the lack of coordination: While Ms. Baeshen acknowledges a phone call between them, the Ambassador flatly denies speaking to Khashoggi on the phone:

As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017. I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim. [My emphasis]

More importantly, how does the Ambassador reconcile today's denial with this statement of his in October 2018? published in the Daily Mail?

On October 9, Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said claims Khashoggi had been brutally murdered in the consulate were 'absolutely false, and baseless'.

He said: 'Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself, and despite our differences, and his choice to go into his so called "self-exile", we still maintained regular contact when he was in Washington.' (my emphasis)

The quote is from a text message he sent to a reporter with Axios, which is reprinted in full here.

The Ambassador also complained today that the Post did not publish his full response to its article on the CIA assessment. The full response includes an offer to check "'the' cell phone records and cell phone content...if Turkey will turn them over". He must mean Khashoggi's records, because why would Turkey have his records? If he really wants to clear this up, why doesn't he offer up his own cell phone records and cell phone for analysis -- as well as the phone records for any Saudi embassy office he may have been at on the day of the alleged call?

Judging from this tweet of his lauding his meeting with Nancy Pelosi on October 3 or 4, 2018, it seems he was probably in the U.S.on October 2, the day Khashoggi was killed. If so, any law enforcement agency can get the call detail records for his phone (and the phones of the embassy in Washington and even the phone lines in his $12 million home in Virginia) with a mere subpoena. Not to mention his travel records -- he charters a $65 million 767 aircraft from the Swiss air firm operated by the Swiss firm Comlux.

Khashoggi was at the Embassy in Turkey on September 28 to get the document he needed for his marriage, and was told to return the next week. He then flew to London to give a talk at this seminar, and returned to Istanbul around September 30. According to the Middle East Monitor, the senior Saudi prosecutor Saud Al-Mojeb told journalists the plot to kill him was created on September 29.

I wonder if the Ambassador has the experience needed to engage in a media battle with the Washington Post and its investigative journalists.

Not everyone is pleased that the royal was selected as ambassador. 'It's a sign of the times when the Saudi king suddenly has his children in positions for which they have virtually zero qualifications,' said policy expert Rami Khouri of the University of Beirut.

Maybe Bravo should offer the Saudi Prince and his Ambassador brother and Jared and Ivanka a reality show. They seem to have a lot in common. Donald Sr. could be executive producer and Donald Jr. could be an extra

< Saudi Report on Murder of Journalist Khashoggi | NYT: American Jews Opine on Jared and Ivanka >
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  • Display: Sort:
    tRump (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by FlJoe on Tue Nov 20, 2018 at 04:48:10 PM EST
    has declared this murder as a nothingburger
    Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia

    America First!

    The world is a very dangerous place!


    And with the wisdom of Solomon

    Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event -- maybe he did and maybe he didn't!


    and nothing to get hung about.

    Makes one wonder.. (none / 0) (#2)
    by desertswine on Wed Nov 21, 2018 at 12:29:56 PM EST
    how much the Saudis are into the trumps for.

    Or vice versa (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Nov 21, 2018 at 02:56:35 PM EST
    Condolences to his family and friends (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 22, 2018 at 02:44:02 AM EST
    Can't imagine what it would be like to lose someone in this way.