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Haspel briefs Trump on Turkish evidence on Khashoggi’s death

Haspel briefs Trump on Turkish evidence on Khashoggi’s death

Haspel briefs Trump on Turkish evidence on Khashoggi’s death
October 26
05:50 2018

CIA Director Gina Haspel has briefed US President Donald Trump after reportedly listening to “compelling” audio recording which captured the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Haspel made a secret visit to Turkey this week to check evidence of audio recordings provided by Turkey that it claims capture the murder, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

According to Turkish authorities, based on the evidence Saudi operatives had tortured, murdered, and dismembered Khashoggi at the monarchy’s consulate in Istanbul. 

Turkish media cited sources familiar with the audio recording of Khashoggi's death describing the evidence as “compelling”.

Details of Haspel's briefing to Trump on her Turkey visit, however, have not been published. 

Meanwhile, the killing of Khashoggi  has sparked global condemnation and snowballed into a major crisis for the Saudi leadership.

'Khashoggi murder premeditated'

Khashoggi’s murder was “premeditated,” according to Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor.

“Information from the Turkish side affirms that the suspects in Khashoggi's case premeditated their crime,” Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor stated on Thursday, giving the incident a new twist.

The latest announcement cancelled an earlier account that the dissident journalist died in a botched operation to “negotiate” his return to the kingdom.

MBS won’t survive without US support

 Ilnur Cevik, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of having Khashoggi's “blood on his hands”.

This image taken on Oct. 23, 2018 shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shaking hands with Jamal Khashoggi's son in Riyadh on Oct. 23, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Trump has also blamed the Saudi de facto leader, who is known in media as “MBS”, for the killing of Khashoggi.

However, Trump also said that he wanted to believe that rogue operatives were behind the Khashoggi killing.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed the individuals who killed Khashoggi “did this outside the scope of their authority”, calling it a “rogue operation”.

“Even if US President Trump saves [Mohammed bin] Salman, in the eyes of the world, he is a questionable person with Khashoggi’s blood on his hands,” Cevik wrote.

Reports indicate that MBS would maintain a low profile henceforth. 

'Bad deal, worst cover-up'

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documentation for his upcoming marriage, but he never left the place.

Initially Saudi officials claimed Khashoggi had left the diplomatic mission unharmed; however, under Turkish pressure joined by the questions from the global community, it was forced to confess that he had been killed in a premeditated murder.

Trump described the plan to kill Khashoggi in the Saudi diplomatic mission in Istanbul, as well as the contrasting cover-up stories after it, as a “bad deal” and “the worst cover-up ever”.

“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups,” Trump said on Tuesday. “They had the worst cover-up ever.”

'We will decide what to believe'

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner,  told media that the Khashoggi case was still in the “fact-finding phase”, and they would decide later on which facts to believe. 

“We're getting facts in from multiple places.Once those facts come in, the secretary of state will work with our national security team to help us determine what we want to believe.”

Meanwhile, Kushner, who has close ties with MBS, admitted that it was a serious situation.

“This is a very serious accusation, a very serious situation,” Kushner said. “I’d say our strategy in the Middle East relies on … America’s interests.”

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