ISTANBUL/RIYADH: A Saudi mission to interrogate the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul was organized by a high-ranking intelligence officer with the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), KSA’s chief intelligence service, reported CNN.
One of those sources described the officer as close to the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is unclear whether the crown prince authorized an interrogation or abduction. Several officials CNN spoke with said the apparent killing could not have happened without the direct knowledge of the 33-year-old crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, who is known by his initials “MBS.”
A second source said the officer assembled and sent his own team to interrogate Khashoggi. They suspected Khashoggi of having ties to the kingdom’s arch-rival, Qatar, the source said. There has been no evidence to substantiate Khashoggi had such ties.
Another source told CNN the mission’s organizer was not transparent about what he told Riyadh, explaining why the government had no clear information for days.
It’s not clear whether these elements will be included in the report ordered by the Saudi authorities into the affair. On Monday, sources told CNN that the report will acknowledge that Khashoggi died in a botched interrogation, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey.
A Turkish official told CNN on Tuesday that Khashoggi’s body was cut into pieces after he was killed two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The claim, which was first made to the New York Times earlier in the investigation into Khashoggi’s fate, comes after Turkish officials searched the consulate for nine hours on Monday night. The Turkish official would not comment on the disposal method for the body.
On Tuesday, President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the crown prince informed them that an investigation into the matter had begun and answers would be forthcoming shortly.
Reports have come from Istanbul that the interrogation team had ties with the Saudi government. One of the passport scans appears to belong to Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi, listed as the head of forensic medicine at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Interior.