April 14, 2021

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Saudi Prince Approved Khashoggi’s Death, U.S. Report Says – The New York Times

2 min read

Such details are part of the mosaic of facts that led the C.I.A. to conclude Prince Mohammed gave the order to kill Mr. Khashoggi. But the entire set of facts the C.I.A. used to draw its conclusion remains classified to protect the agency’s sources of information and methods of collecting secrets in the kingdom, according to American officials.

After Mr. Khashoggi’s killing became public, Saudi officials sought to deflect blame from the crown prince. The Saudi government imprisoned eight people in connection with Mr. Khashoggi’s death, trying them largely secretively. Although five were originally sentenced to death, after one of Mr. Khashoggi’s sons said he and his siblings had forgiven the men who killed their father, a Saudi court reduced the sentences to prison terms.

In November 2018, President Donald J. Trump released an exclamation-filled statement, which was at once dissembling and candid. Aiming to move past Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and continue his close relationship with the Saudi government, Mr. Trump talked about the importance of arms sales and the threat of Iran and said Prince Mohammed’s involvement was uncertain. “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information,” Mr. Trump wrote, “but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

The statement was misleading, at best. While the C.I.A. was continuing to collect information, as early as mid-October 2018, agency officials had determined Prince Mohammed was culpable. And the following month, the agency told Congress that it was confident he gave the order to kill Mr. Khashoggi, the conclusion the newly released report reinforces more than two years later.

The release of the report was long in coming.

In 2019, Congress passed a measure requiring the executive branch to give lawmakers an unclassified report about Mr. Khashoggi’s death and the intelligence community’s conclusions. The Trump administration never complied.

But during the confirmation hearing last month for Avril D. Haines to become director of national intelligence, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, asked whether she would turn over the unclassified report.

“I absolutely will follow the law,” Ms. Haines replied.

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