US concludes Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi operation

US intelligence has concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Turkey to “capture or kill” journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The four-page report declassified by the Biden administration and released on Friday said the assessment was based on factors including Prince Mohammed’s “control of decision-making in the Kingdom”.

The report pointed to direct involvement of key lieutenants of the crown prince in the 2018 operation against Khashoggi, as well as members of his protective detail. It also noted the crown prince’s personal “support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi”.

The assessment said it was “highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the crown prince’s authorisation”, citing the crown prince’s “absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations” since 2017.

The report named 21 Saudi officials who it said “participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for” the death of Khashoggi on behalf of Prince Mohammed. 

But the report stops short of describing the operation as mission to kill Khashoggi from the outset.

“We do not know whether these individuals knew in advance that the operation would result in Khashoggi’s death,” the report said.

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