Khashoggi murder: CIA director Gina Haspel to brief Trump


CIA director Gina Haspel is due to brief President Trump on her visit to Turkey this week over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The meeting comes hours after media reports said that during the visit Ms Haspel had heard audio recordings that Turkey claims capture the murder.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor was quoted as saying Khashoggi’s murder was “premeditated”.

The US-based Saudi government critic died in the consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia initially denied all knowledge of the writer’s whereabouts when he went missing on 2 October, but later admitted he was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, blaming “rogue agents”.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that on Thursday Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chaired the first meeting of a committee to reform the state’s intelligence services, which was set up following Mr Khashoggi’s death.

Last week Saudi Arabia sacked two key advisers to the prince, and arrested 18 people.

And on Thursday sources close to Khashoggi’s family said his eldest son Salah had left the country.

Mr Khashoggi, who was filmed on Tuesday shaking hands with the crown prince, had previously been unable to leave because of a travel ban imposed because of his father’s criticism of the kingdom’s leadership.

What is Ms Haspel’s role?

The CIA director travelled to Turkey on Monday to review intelligence about the incident.

Reuters quoted White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders as saying that Ms Haspel was scheduled to brief President Trump on the visit.

n Wednesday Turkey’s Sabah newspaper said she had listened to audio recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation and death, but gave no details about the contents or how the audio had been obtained.

Now, sources quoted by the Washington Post and Reuters news agency have backed up the reports.

A person “familiar with the audio” told the Washington Post that it was “compelling”.

On Wednesday Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is regarded as the country’s de facto ruler, vowed to punish those responsible for the murder.

However, media reports have quoted Turkish security sources as saying the operation was run by a top aide to Prince Mohammed.

The crown prince was speaking at a business forum in Riyadh, dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, which has been boycotted by a number of political and corporate leaders.



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