It may be the single least self-aware statement of the year. Prince Turki al-Faisal has insisted that the CIA assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi can be dismissed because “the CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations.” This is coming from a government that has issued a series of bold-faced lies about its murdering of the journalist from claiming that Khashoggi was actually alive to blaming him for a brawl in the consulate to now insisting that a group of men (including those closely tied to the Crown Prince) carried out the murder without his knowledge. Of course, even President Trump cannot decide if he will believe his own intelligence officials or the Crown Prince. Trump said continued to say that it is not clear that the Crown Prince ordered the killing despite incriminating tapes and overwhelming evidence to the contrary — as well as leading Republicans saying that continued denials are unbelievable and embarrassing for the country.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the United States, said “The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations. The examples of that are multitude.” He cited the Iraq war based on CIA assessments that “led to a full-scale war with thousands being killed.” He added “I don’t see why the CIA is not on trial in the United States. This is my answer to their assessment of who is guilty and who is not and who did what in the consulate in Istanbul.”
Hmmm, it may be because there is not a tape of murderers confirming with the Crown Prince that they had just carried out his recorded order to silence a Washington Post journalist.
The latest reports disclosed the existence of a “smoking gun phone call” of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with an alleged instruction to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible.” Moreover, there is a recording referencing the Crown Prince by the murderers as well as an intercept of a team member calling an aide to Prince Mohammed and saying “tell your boss” that the mission was accomplished. Intercepts also show that Prince Mohammed was trying to find ways to lure Mr. Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. It also ignores the detailed plans involving the Crown Prince’s close aide and a large team of men sent from Saudi Arabia, including a body double for Khashoggi.
What followed the murder was a series of planned lies, including sticking with the original plan of claiming that Khashoggi was shown leaving the consulate. The Saudis however failed to use Khashoggi’s shoes after having the man don the dead man’s clothes.
The Saudis are now planning to execute the team in an effort to protect the Crown Prince. However, it is the CIA that lacks veracity.
The question is whether President Trump will continue to deny the obvious as the Saudis attack our own intelligence services as unreliable.