Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

US Investigators Probe Khashoggi's Disappearance in Turkey

US Investigators Probe Khashoggi's Disappearance in Turkey

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi, a critic of Salman who has been living in self-imposed exile in the USA, was murdered October 2 inside the consulate when he went there to pick up documents to allow him to marry Cengiz, a Turkish national, or perhaps spirited away to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia faces unprecedented pressure over the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who disappeared after entering its consulate in Istanbul last week and is believed to have been murdered there.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that USA intelligence had intercepted the communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi, citing an unidentified person familiar with the information. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke with the crown prince "to reiterate the United States request for information", Sanders said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish media outlets published CCTV footage which they say shows evidence of a plot linked to Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday, she implored the president and his wife to "help shed light on Jamal's disappearance".

The Post, citing anonymous USA officials familiar with the intelligence, said Prince Mohammed ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him. "Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened". Some have been incredulous at its denials of wrongdoing and contention it has no recorded video footage from the consulate showing Khashoggi, who had been living in self-exile in Virginia for the past year.

In a sign Turkey and Saudi Arabia might be looking for a way forward, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to investigate the case, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency quoted presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin as saying. The Kentucky Republican said he hopes Trump will support stronger measures against Saudi Arabia "if there is any evidence they killed this journalist".

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"We knew of Jamal's interest in building platforms to promote the discussion of issues that he is passionate about, notably freedom and democracy in the Middle East", he said. Khashoggi contributed columns to the Post, including some critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The reports did not cite a source and there was no official confirmation. "We're also confident that he would be transparent with readers about these efforts as they progressed".

"We can not let this happen - to reporters, to anybody", he added during the Oval Office meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator. She added that the USA had not requested the ambassador, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, to leave. "I think she's in shock, now even more", her friend said.

Graham also drew a distinction between reacting to Khashoggi's death with economic sanctions and curtailing USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia or limiting United States military support for the war in Yemen.

Nevertheless, the Post's report raises questions about what duty US intelligence agencies may have had to warn Khashoggi that he was in danger, if they did know of a plot to capture him.

Khashoggi called the consulate and was told "that documents are being prepared" and he could come to the consulate.

Since 2009, the executive branch has notified Congress of proposed foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia of major defense articles and services with a potential aggregate value of almost $139 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service report. "And frankly, I think that that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country".

Sabah reported that 12 of the members arrived early on the day of the disappearance, based on photos captured at passport control. He visited Saudi Arabia on his first worldwide trip as president, announcing $110bn in proposed arms sales with the Gulf kingdom at the time.

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