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December 17, 2018

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CIA chief Haspel to brief US Senate leaders on Khashoggi’s death

2018/12/04, 23:03


 CIA chief Haspel to brief US Senate leaders on Khashoggi’s death

Truth NGO - CIA Director Gina Haspel will give a closed briefing to leaders of several US Senate committees on Tuesday on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two sources familiar with the planned meeting, Reuters reports.

Some lawmakers were angry Haspel did not participate in a Senate briefing by Trump administration officials last week on Khashoggi’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The CIA has assessed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Haspel would conduct a briefing.
At last week’s briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said there was no hard evidence the crown prince was behind the killing and urged senators not to downgrade ties with Saudi Arabia over the incident.

Haspel will brief the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Appropriations committees, the source said, adding that the Senate Intelligence Committee already had been briefed by the CIA chief.

A Senate source said Senate leaders would also participate in the briefing, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET. (16:30 GMT)

The CIA had no immediate comment.

Yemen bill

Senators from both parties were angry last week that the CIA director did not attend a briefing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The Trump administration denied allegations it blocked Haspel from appearing.

At last week's briefing, Pompeo and Mattis said there was no hard evidence the crown prince was behind the killing and urged senators not to downgrade ties with Saudi Arabia over the incident. The CIA has reportedly assessed, however, that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

Trump has repeatedly avoided any assertion that Prince Mohammed was involved in the killing and said the CIA had "feelings" the royal was culpable but not a firm conviction.

"I hate the crime, I hate the cover-up. I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do, and they have vehemently denied it," he said late November.

In an earlier statement put out by the White House, Trump praised Saudi Arabia as a "steadfast partner" and claimed "we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi."

The US president warned that any punitive measures against Saudi Arabia or its ruling family, could force Riyadh to sign arms deals with Russia and China instead of Washington.

Hours after last week's briefing, the Senate voted 63-37 to take up a resolution aimed at limiting US involvement in the war in Yemen, where a Washington-backed Saudi-UAE coalition launched an intervention in 2015 through a massive air campaign targeting Houthi rebels. The next vote on the bill could come as early as Thursday.

Khashoggi was killed on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his planned marriage.

After offering contradictory statements, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate and his body was dismembered. The kingdom has repeatedly said Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the killing, which Turkey said was ordered at the highest level of Saudi leadership.

Keywords(Tags)

International،.U.S،Saudi Arabia

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