Khashoggi murder: CIA holds classified briefing, concludes Saudi crown Prince ordered killing 

US senators say they are more certain than ever after the private CIA briefing that the Saudi crown prince had a role in the murder of a journalist

By NH Web Desk

In her December 4, Tuesday's briefing to a selected few lawmakers, the CIA Director Gina Haspel gave a classified briefing on the killing carried out on October 2 which prompted the senators' calling for a full Senate brief, Xinhua news agency reported.

CIA chief Gina Haspel must brief the full Senate on the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, several senators have said after a classified briefing was held a day ago.

"Every Senator should hear what I heard this afternoon," Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said on his official website, "CIA Director Haspel must brief the full Senate immediately."

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer also said that Haspel should meet with the full Senate.

"CIA Director Haspel should brief the full Senate without delay," Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in his statement later in the day.

Senator Rand Paul, who was excluded from the Tuesday's briefing, said that the small group briefing was an example of the "deep state".

"Why shouldn't every senator know what is going on?" the Kentucky Republican said on his Twitter, "This is just ridiculous!"

House Representatives will receive an intelligence briefing from the administration next week on the Khashoggi case, but it's unclear whether the CIA chief will attend, according to media reports.

Khashoggi has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. The Saudi authorities said Khashoggi died in a "brawl" in its consulate.

After releasing the results of its initial investigation, the Saudi Public Prosecution announced that 18 Saudis were arrested for their alleged connections with the killing.

The US Treasury imposed sanctions on 17 individuals over their alleged roles in the killing of Khashoggi in mid-November, following the US State Department's decision in late October to revoke 21 Saudi suspects' visas.

The US Congress has urged a thorough investigation into the murder of Khashoggi, and threatened to take more actions against Saudi Arabia if those responsible were not held accountable.

US senators say they are more certain than ever after the private CIA briefing that the Saudi crown prince had a role in the murder of a journalist.

In a blistering attack, Senator Lindsey Graham said he had "high confidence" Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, BBC reported.

The South Carolina Republican described the Saudi royal as "a wrecking ball", "crazy" and "dangerous".

Members of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations did not mince words after the briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday, December 4.

"There is not a smoking gun - there is a smoking saw," Graham said, referring to Khashoggi's alleged dismemberment in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

The senator said he could not support Saudi Arabia's involvement in the war in Yemen or arms sales to the Saudi government as long as the crown prince remained in power.

Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, echoed those views.

He said the US must "send a clear and unequivocal message that such actions are not acceptable in the world's stage".

Another senator, Bob Corker, told reporters, using the crown prince's initials: "I have zero question on my mind that the crown prince MBS ordered the killing."

The Tennessee Republican added: "If he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes. Guilty."

Corker suggested that US President Donald Trump had condoned the murder of a journalist by refusing to condemn the Saudi crown prince.

Fellow Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama said: "Now the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation?"

The Senate is planning to vote on a proposal to end US military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, after members of both parties advanced the resolution last week.

Senator Chris Murphy, who was not privy to Tuesday's briefing, criticised the Trump administration.

"Not everything needs to be secret," the Connecticut Democrat tweeted.

"If our government knows that Saudi leaders were involved in the murder of a US resident, why shouldn't the public know this?"

The CIA has concluded Mohammed bin Salman "probably ordered" the killing of Khashoggi.

The spy agency has evidence he exchanged messages with Saud al-Qahtani, who allegedly oversaw the Saudi reporter's murder.

The CIA director -- who has reportedly heard an audio recording of the murder -- did not attend a recent congressional briefing by cabinet members, dismaying lawmakers.

The White House denied having a hand in Ms Haspel's conspicuous absence, and the CIA said no one had told Haspel not to attend.

At last week's hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis told senators there was no direct evidence of the crown prince's involvement in Khashoggi's death.

Trump has said the CIA findings on the crown prince were not conclusive.

On November 20, he said: "It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't."

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