Reasonable observers and analysts concluded weeks ago that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome killing of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
Though it took them far longer than most, a small group of Republicans finally fell in line with this widespread consensus after a secretive briefing by CIA chief Gina Haspel on Tuesday, admitting that all the available evidence suggests MBS orchestrated the murder that has sparked international outrage and brought America's longstanding military relationship with the brutal kingdom under sharp scrutiny.
"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters after the behind-closed-doors briefing. "I think he's complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible."
Graham went on to say he will not support U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia until all who are responsible for Khashoggi's murder are "brought to justice."
As Common Dreams reported, the Senate last week advanced Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi kingdom's assault on Yemen. Graham voted in favor of the resolution.
.@LindseyGrahamSC on Khashoggi: "0 chance that this happened in such an organized fashion without Crown Prince [being involved]...I have great respect for Pompeo & Mattis [but] If they were in a Dem administration, I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia" pic.twitter.com/mFZagAnkMd— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 4, 2018
Echoing his GOP colleague following the CIA briefing, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, "All evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince."
These long-overdue statements place Shelby and Graham firmly at odds with President Donald Trump, who issued a bizarre and "dangerous" statement last month claiming that it may be impossible to know who is ultimately responsible for Khashoggi's murder and vowing to continue selling weapons to the kingdom.
A Saudi dissident is to sue Israeli spyware firm NSO after its software was used by Saudi Arabia to track him and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
While President Donald Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the CIA's internal, and still secret, determination concerning the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi nearly two months ago, it was reported on Tuesday that while members of the U.S. Senate will receive a briefing from the Trump adminstration on Wednesday, neither the director of the CIA Gina Haspel nor other intelligence officials will participate.
Saudi Arabia has allegedly negotiated with an Israeli firm to buy an advanced system that hacks cell phones, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday. The newspaper said two representatives of Herzliya-based NSO Group Technologies met Saudi officials in Vienna in 2017 to promote the Pegasus 3 software.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that claims, including by the CIA, that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave the order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi were false, according to an Arabic-language newspaper interview, Reuters reports. News outlets, including Reuters, reported the CIA’s finding over the weekend in a case that has sparked an international outcry against the world’s top oil exporter. This was the most definitive U.S. assessment to date tying Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler directly to the killing and contradicted Saudi government assertions that he was not involved.
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