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Feb 10 2019

Efforts to conceal Saudi's role in Khashoggi murder falling apart - NYT

The pressure to solve the murder case of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi must continue, the U.S. Congress should continue to demand full disclosure of CIA records related to the murder, The New York Times (NYT) said on Friday.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his backers in the White House 'were wrong' to assume that the outcry over the brutal murder of Khashoggi would die over time, according to NYT.

Khashoggi had entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get documents for his upcoming marriage. He never reappeared. Saudi Arabia has since admitted that he was killed in a fight, but have denied allegations that Prince Mohammed had approved his killing or kidnapping. 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said they obtained apparent video and audio evidence that Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul with the order of Prince Mohammed, and CIA director Gina Haspel, on a visit to Turkey, has listened to an audio recording of the killing.

The efforts to cover the killing and to protect Prince Mohammed had only intensified demands for a full reckoning, the NYT said.

"The latest have come from American intelligence agencies, a United Nations investigator and a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, sources that in their diversity and breadth should serve notice on Prince Mohammed that all his oil wealth and powerful friends will not wash away the blood of the slain journalist," the paper said.

It presented newly revealed findings by American spy agencies that the crown prince evidently suggested killing the Saudi dissent a year before the incident. Prince Mohammed said in a conversation with a top aide that if self-exiled Khashoggi could not be enticed or brought back by force to Saudi Arabia, he would go after him “with a bullet.”

"Whether Prince Mohammed meant that literally or figuratively, the quote reveals a young, ruthlessly ambitious autocrat furious that a one-time insider dared criticize him as he sought to impose his will on the kingdom, including the repression of all who dare speak their mind," NYT said.