Pompeo Says There’s No ‘Direct Evidence’ Linking Prince to Khashoggi's Death
(Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. has “no direct evidence” linking Saudi Arabia’s crown prince to the murder of journalism Jamal Khashoggi, but declined to address reports that the CIA has concluded the kingdom’s leader was involved.
Pompeo’s remarks come amid growing Congressional pressure to punish the Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder in October at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a move that’s put a major strain on American-Saudi ties.
“I have read every piece of intelligence that is in the possession of the United States government and when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there is no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo said in interview on Saturday with CNN from the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires.
Asked to comment on reports the CIA concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved, Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018, said he couldn’t comment on the agency’s assessment.
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that it had reviewed excerpts of the CIA’s report, which included electronic intercepts between the crown prince and a close adviser, and other information.
The excerpts indicated that the CIA had “medium-to-high” confidence that Prince Mohammed had personally targeted Khashoggi to the extent of “probably ordering his death,” the Journal reported. However, the assessment also stated that there is no direct reporting of the crown prince actually issuing a kill order, the newspaper said.
The administration’s investigation of the incident is ongoing, Pompeo said, adding “we will continue to hold those responsible accountable,” Pompeo said.
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