CIA ‘wiretapped’ Saudi prince ordering Khashoggi be ‘silenced’

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Director of US spy agency Gina Haspel signalled to Turkish officials the agency had a recording of a call in which Mohammed bin Salman gave instructions to kill Jamal Khashoggi, according to a Turkish newspaper.

A demonstrator wearing a mask of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a protest outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, October 25, 2018.
A demonstrator wearing a mask of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a protest outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, October 25, 2018. (Reuters)

A Turkish newspaper reported on Thursday CIA director Gina Haspel signalled to Turkish officials last month that the agency had a recording of a call in which Saudi Arabia’s crown prince gave instructions to “silence” Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul six weeks ago.

“There is talk of another recording,” Hurriyet newspaper journalist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in a column, saying the purported call took place between Prince Mohammed and his brother, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington.

“It is being said that CIA chief Gina Haspel indicated this during her visit to Turkey,” he wrote, adding that they had discussed Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Order captured during CIA wiretapping

“It is said that the crown prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the CIA wiretapping,” he said.

“The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction,” Selvi reported, adding an international probe into the writer’s killing “can reveal more jaw-dropping evidence, as CIA has more wiretapped phone calls at hand than the public knows about.”

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 in an operation that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said was ordered by the “highest level” of Saudi leadership.

After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh said last week Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Asked about the report, a Turkish official told Reuters news agency he had no information about such a recording.

Parts of Khashoggi tape leaked

On Tuesday, a Turkish news website published last-minute quotes of Khashoggi and his killers, part of conversation that took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

“Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?” Khashoggi was heard telling his captors, according to Haberturk columnist Cetiner Cetin, who cited Turkish sources.

The quarrel between Khashoggi and four members of the Saudi hit team could be heard in the recording for seven minutes, Cetin reported, adding the quarrel took place at the visa unit of the consulate.

The report said the second recording includes sounds of physical altercation, beating and torture.

“Traitor! You will be brought to account!'” a man is heard saying.

“It is spooky to wear the clothes of a man whom we killed 20 minutes ago,” another man is heard saying, after an hour in the same recording.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies
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