Middle East

Jamal Khashoggi murder: Saudi prince says CIA cannot be trusted

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A senior Saudi prince has questioned the CIA's credibility in relation to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, saying the agency has made mistakes in the past.

A senior Saudi prince has cast doubt upon the reported CIA finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, saying the agency could not be counted on to reach a credible conclusion.

"The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations," Prince Turki al-Faisal, a senior member of the royal family, has told journalists in Abu Dhabi.

"The examples of that are multitude," he said on Saturday.

The prince, a former Saudi intelligence chief who has also served as ambassador to the United States, said the CIA's conclusion that Iraq possessed chemical weapons before the US invasion in 2003 showed it could be unreliable.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the CIa have made mistakes before and are not to be trusted.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the CIa have made mistakes before and are not to be trusted.
AAP

"That was the most glaring of inaccurate and wrong assessments, which led to a full-scale war with thousands being killed," he said, speaking at an event hosted by the Beirut Institute.

"I don't see why the CIA is not on trial in the United States.

"This is my answer to their assessment of who is guilty and who is not and who did what in the consulate in Istanbul."

The CIA has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the operation to kill Khashoggi last month - as first reported by the Washington Post - and has briefed other parts of the US government on its findings, sources told Reuters last week.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
AAP

US President Donald Trump has disputed that the agency reached a conclusion on the murder, saying instead "they have feelings certain ways".

A Turkish newspaper also reported on Thursday that CIA director Gina Haspel signalled to Turkish officials that the agency had a recording of a call in which the crown prince gave instructions to "silence" the journalist.

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 in an operation that Turkish authorities have said was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership, prompting the kingdom's biggest political crisis in a generation.

After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh said Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered after negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

The kingdom's public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in the murder, but has said Prince Mohammed had no prior knowledge of the operation.

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