Central Intelligence Agency director convinces senators of Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi murder

Central Intelligence Agency director convinces senators of Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi murder

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed senators on what US intelligence agencies know about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday.

Graham was convinced the administration was willfully ignoring the evidence linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with Khashoggi's death to avoid having to sever ties with the kingdom.

Graham's rage about the crown prince's involvement was shared by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said while there was no smoking gun, there was a "smoking saw", referring to the bone saw that investigators have said was used to dismember Khashoggi after he was killed by a team of agents from Saudi Arabia in that country's consulate in Istanbul in October.

Khashoggi, a USA resident who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Haspel's briefing was limited to the chairs and ranking members of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence committees, as well as the Appropriation subcommittee, and majority and minority leaders.

"If we don't stop it now, it gets worse later", Graham said, adding that MBS has been a "wrecking ball" the Middle East.

He said he was working with colleagues on how to amend the resolution, and he had not had suggestions from the Trump administration on how it might prefer to proceed. I have no question whatsoever now: "The crown prince directed the murder and was kept apprised of the situation all the way through".


A Senate source said Senate leaders would also participate in the briefing, which is scheduled for 11.30am ET.

Their verdict came after a private briefing on the evidence from Gina Haspel, the Central Intelligence Agency director, and increased the prospect of financial consequences for the kingdom, such as cutting off USA military aid for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The murder has become a lightning rod, dividing the White House and a usually supportive Republican-led Senate.

The war in Yemen and the broader issue of the behavior of the Saudi crown prince are not entirely related, and that will be the case that senators opposing the War Powers measure are sure to make when the floor debate takes place.

Senators, however, were divided as to what steps to take next, following a stinging vote last week to consider a measure cutting off United States military aid to Saudi Arabia's campaign.

"I left the briefing with high confidence that my initial confidence is correct", said Sen.

Haspel reportedly did not try to change the lawmakers' mind about the matter, yet the hearing led to a more outspoken stance from the senators.

US intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot.

"We are a coequal branch of government exercising leadership to safeguard the country's long-term interests, values and reputation", wrote Graham, a frequent ally of the president.

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