US President Donald Trump and his team barred the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for briefing the Senate on the assassination of Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor as the upper house was due to hold this Wednesday a private discussion on relations with Saudi Arabia, The Guardian has revealed.
“The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the defense secretary, James Mattis, are due to give a briefing on US relations with Saudi Arabia to the entire Senate behind closed doors on Wednesday, ahead of a vote that could cut off US support for Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen,” The Guardian said.
A Senate staffer also told the British paper that it is customary to have an intel person present during such an important session but the decision by the White House can be interpreted as a clear move to zip the mouth of the intelligence community.
CIA Chief, Gina Haspel and her agency have listened to audio tapes of Khashoggi’s killing on Oct. 02, provided by Turkish authorities.
Turkey pointed the finger at the highest level of the Saudi leadership, leaving King Salman aside but piling pressure on the Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman (MbS).
The New York Times, The Washington Post and several media institutions have reported that the CIA has held MbS as the mastermind of what Turkish authorities have referred to as premeditated crime in which the 59-year old journalist was strangled and dismembered.
Saudi Arabia has confessed the killing but has denied the Crown Prince’s link with the assassination. However, Trump claimed that the 33-year old de facto ruler may have known about the plan to murder his critic who fled the kingdom in September last year and settled in the USA.
The US leader has refused to listen to the tapes noting that it will not change his position regarding Saudi Arabia that he views as an important trade ally and a partner in the fight against terrorism. Meanwhile, US lawmakers from across the spectrum pressure him to scale down relations with the Gulf country.