Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) sent at least 11 text messages to his "closest adviser" — who directed the team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul — while the murder took place, The Wall Street Journal reported early Saturday, citing a classified CIA assessment.
The CIA also reportedly found MBS told associates last year he "could possibly lure [Khashoggi] outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements" if the dissident journalist did not change his behavior. The assessment notes this "seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi."
The Journal says the CIA assessment concludes with "medium-to-high confidence" MBS "personally targeted" Khashoggi, likely ordering his death, but cannot present "direct reporting of the crown prince issuing a kill order."
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President Trump has expressed doubts about the CIA's previously reported suspicion of MBS and has indicated he will not take significant action against Saudi Arabia — like canceling U.S. arms deals with the regime — in response to the murder.
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