A Turkish newspaper reported yesterday that the CIA has a “smoking gun” recording of a phone call which proves that Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince ordered the murder of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Turkey‘s Hurriyet Daily News reported that “The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is in possession of a phone call recording of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which he is heard giving an instruction to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible.”
The Turkish newspaper also reported on Thursday that the CIA Director told Turkish officials during her trip to Turkey in October that the agency was in possession of the wiretapped phone call.
“CIA Director Gina Haspel “signalled” during her trip to Ankara last month the existence of the wiretapped phone call between Crown Prince Mohammed and his brother Khaled bin Salman, who is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.”
“The two Saudi officials are heard in the CIA recording discussing the “discomfort” created by Khashoggi’s public criticism of the kingdom’s administration.”
Turkish officials said that they have no information about such a recording. The government of Saudi Arabia has said that the crown prince had no prior knowledge of Mr Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul six weeks ago.
According to The Hurriyet Daily News:
“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. The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction.”
“An international investigation into the murder, if opened, can reveal more jaw-dropping evidence, as CIA has more wiretapped phone calls at hand than the public knows about.”
The Turkish paper said that CIA chief Haspel met with Turkish government officials during her visit to Turkey and they discussed Khashoggi’s death. Khashoggi had been banned from writing in his home country and was a critic of the Saudi government as well as Donald Trump.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has publicly stated that Khashoggi’s killing was ordered by “the highest level of Saudi leadership” which means the crown prince. On Wednesday Erdogan criticized President Donald Trump’s statement about Khashoggi, saying it was “comic.” He also accused the United States of “turning a blind eye” to the murder of the Saudi journalist.
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.