Declassified US intel report finds Saudi crown prince ‘approved’ Khashoggi murder

narvikk/iStockBy CONOR FINNEGAN and LUCIEN BRUGGEMAN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — The Office of Director of National Intelligence on Friday transmitted its report on the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi to Congress, paving the way for its highly anticipated public release.

The brutal killing has roiled the United States’ longstanding ties with Saudi Arabia, and President Joe Biden has vowed to recalibrate the relationship after his predecessor Donald Trump shielded the kingdom from U.S. pressure.

The declassified report implicated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi throne and the country’s de facto ruler, in the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Oct. 2018, murdered, and dismembered.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded that the crown prince “approved” the murder of Khashoggi, according to a four-page report released Friday afternoon.

“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” according to the document. “We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision-making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi,” the report said.

The Saudi government has denied that the crown prince, sometimes known by his initials MBS, was involved, instead blaming a rogue team of government agents.

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