It has been nearly two months to the day since Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul hoping to retrieve papers needed to marry his Turkish fiance – only to be killed and butchered by a 15-man Saudi murder squad.
In the intervening weeks, the Saudis have suffered remarkably little blowback (considering that the uproar elicited by Khashoggi’s murder nearly triggered a global diplomatic crisis): To date, the US and Canada have levied sanctionsagainst a 17 Saudis suspected of participating or orchestratingKhashoggi’s murder, and a handful of countries who don’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia have said they will stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, bothCanada and the UShave balked at similar measures because they would inevitably kill jobs.
Clearly concerned about the flagging interest in holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for his suspected role in ordering the killing,the CIA has decidedto pick up where Turkey left off.
Last week, somebody inside the agency leaked a preliminary report to the Washington Post detailing the agency’s determination that MbS had ordered the killing. And on Saturday morning, theWall Street Journalpublished the latest (illegal) intelligence agency leak when it reported on the contents of intercepts revealing that during the hours after and immediately before the killing, MbS had exchanged 11 messages with Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to the prince who is believed to have supervised the murder squad.