The US intelligence report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi says that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman approved the operation to capture or kill the Saudi journalist.
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report’s executive summary states.
“We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decisionmaking in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi,” the report says.
The Biden administration released the long-awaited declassified intelligence report on Khashogg’s killing on Friday.
The administration provided the declassified report to Congress ahead of its public release.
The release of the report was mandated by Congress. It came after President Joe Biden and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud spoke on Thursday.
The report says that bin Salman has “absolute control” of the Saudi intelligence and security operation, meaning such an operation to target Khashoggi would not have been carried out without his authorization.
“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization,” the report says.
It says that the 15-person Saudi team that arrived in Istanbul in October 2018 when Khashoggi was killed included members associated with the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs (CSMARC) at the Royal Court, led by a close adviser of bin Salman, as well as “seven members of Muhammad bin Salman’s elite personal protective detail, known as the Rapid Intervention Force (RIF).”