After murdering the Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a member of the assassination squad who reached Istanbul to carry out the task, called a superior saying: “tell your boss” that the mission has been completed.
This “boss” is believed to be Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) whose involvement in the murder of the Washington Post columnist was denied by the kingdom, the New York Times reported Monday.
The recording of the call shared with Gina Haspel, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States is regarded by intelligence officials as one of the strongest evidence that linked MBS with the murder.
The crown prince was not mentioned by name in the recording but U.S. intelligence officials believe that he has been referred to in the phone call by Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of the 15 Saudi officials sent to Istanbul the day Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate. Mutreb, a security officer who frequently traveled with MBS, was speaking to one of the prince’s aides, according to Turkish intelligence officers.
“A phone call like that is about as close to a smoking gun as you are going to get,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a former CIA officer now at the Brookings Institution. “It is pretty incriminating evidence.”
But Saudi officials said Monday that the crown prince had no knowledge of Khashoggi’s killing. The Saudi statement said that Turkey had “allowed our intelligence services to hear recordings, and at no moment was there any reference to the mentioned phrase in such recordings.”
Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist from Saudi Arabia went into a self-imposed exile after the crackdown on dissent started by MBS. He went into Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 and was murdered there by Saudi officials. However, the real question that still lingers is the involvement of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman who is known to execute dissenters with impunity inside the kingdom.