‘A Smoking Saw’: US Senators Leave CIA Briefing Convinced MBS Killed Khashoggi
Dec 05 2018
Republican senators emerged from a briefing today about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing and essentially accused the Trump Administration of misleading the USA about it - and even covering it up for Saudi Arabia. The journalist, who had lived for a time in the US and wrote for The Washington Post, had been critical of the Saudi regime. Turkey says a hit squad from Riyadh killed and dismembered him.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters after attending a closed-door briefing on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by CIA Director Gina Haspel. There's a smoking saw- Sen.
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said after a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi that the administration was making the "wrong calculation" in declining to blame the de facto Saudi leader.
The fierce spat between the White House and Congress has fueled new levels of support for a resolution that would demand an end to USA involvement in the war in Yemen-a push that could trigger an unprecedented showdown over the US government's authority to wage war.
"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder and was kept apprised of the situation all the way through".
They say Gina Haspel is to talk to Senate leaders leaders on Tuesday.
After the briefing, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said the USA must have strong response to Yemen war and Jamal Khashoggi's killing. "I think the behavior before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing, and I can not see him being a reliable partner to the United States".
Ms Haspel's absence from that briefing angered senators.
The Trump administration has argued there is no "smoking gun" tying the prince to the murder, but Corker said Haspel presented the senators with information they hadn't heard before.
Some senators have complained about the way the briefing was handled today, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said.
He went on to suggest that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis were being "technical" "good soldiers" for the goals of the Trump administration.
United States newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, have reported that the Central Intelligence Agency has evidence that Prince Mohammed exchanged 11 messages with his close aide Saud al-Qahtani, who allegedly oversaw the murder, just before and after it took place.
The South Carolina senator continued, "Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, and the relationship is worth saving-but not at all cost".
Graham saying he'd question Pompeo's and Mattis's motives if this were a Democratic administration is a particularly striking statement - and one from someone who is a frequent Trump ally these days. And for once, Graham and Democrats in Congress have found something they can agree on.
Paul was not allowed in the Tuesday briefing, which was limited to relevant committee chairmen and select other participants.
Even if the Yemen resolution passes the Senate, it appears unlikely to advance in the House. The Saudis have denied bin Salman's involvement.