Published: Wed, November 14, 2018

Tape Doesn't Implicate Prince MBS, NSA Bolton Says

Tape Doesn't Implicate Prince MBS, NSA Bolton Says

Luggage carried by a 15-member Saudi team dispatched to Istanbul included scissors, defibrillators and syringes that may have been used against journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate, a pro-government Turkish daily said on Tuesday.

Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was strangled nearly immediately upon entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on October 2 in order to obtain papers he needed for his upcoming marriage, and that his body was then dismembered and disposed of.

Saudi Arabia's prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb has since said Khashoggi's killing was planned in advance, although another Saudi official said Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the specific operation.

Citing three unnamed people familiar with the recording, the New York Times claimed that United States intelligence officials believe the "boss" was the Saudi crown prince. The newspaper said American intelligence officials believe "your boss" to be a reference to Prince Mohammed.

The 33-year-old crown prince is on course to become the first Saudi monarch from a new generation in 65 years, but his rise has upended the system of rule in place for decades in which successive kings sought family consensus and allocated powerful posts to their brothers and nephews.

"Canada has been fully briefed up on what Turkey had to share", Trudeau said from the Canadian Embassy in Paris, where he was attending the Peace Forum following the First World War Armistice centenary.

The Saudis have presented shifting stories about the journalist's death, initially denying any knowledge before arguing that a group of rogue operators were responsible for his death.

But officials in Ankara say the audio does not conclusively implicate Mohammed bin Salman.


Erdoğan also said that he discussed the Khashoggi murder with the U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in a dinner and told them it was obvious that Khashoggi's murder was ordered and instructed by the high echelons of the Saudi hierarchy.

It comes as Turkey's president claimed the audio recordings of Jamal Khashoggi's murder were so "appalling" that a shocked Saudi intelligence officer who listened to them said the killer must have been on heroin. Turkish officials have said little about what they might contain.

"We continue to be engaged with our allies on the investigation into accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and we are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to next steps towards Saudi Arabia", he said in response to a reporter's question.

Saudi Arabia has not been entirely forthcoming with information about the role of its citizens in the killing, according to a Turkish official.

"I talked very frankly about our concerns about what happened and how important it is for Saudi's strategic partners to know that this can not and will not happen again", he told reporters.

People familiar with the content of the recording revealed that Mutreb, who is a diplomat and is known to be very close to MBS, spoke to one of the aides of MBS. "Due process is in train at the moment in Saudi Arabia and I was led to believe there will be rapid progress in making sure that people are brought to justice".

The case has brought near unprecedented global scrutiny on Saudi Arabia and its powerful crown prince, whom Khashoggi had openly criticized.

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