'Blindingly obvious' that Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi murder: Report
A demonstrator dressed as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with blood on his hands protests with others outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, on Oct. 8, 2018, demanding justice for slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photo: AFP
A U.S. State Department official who has seen a version of the CIA's assessment on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi told ABC News it's "blindingly obvious" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.
"The idea that it goes all the way to the top is blindingly obvious," said the State Department official, speaking to the U.S. broadcaster on the condition of anonymity.
"There's overwhelming consensus that the leadership is involved -- no one is debating it within the government," the official said. While saying no doubts are expressed in the report, the official acknowledged that the words "probably" and "likely" are used when attributing the death to the crown prince. The source noted that CIA analysis reports rarely include explicit conclusions.
Among the evidence cited in the report, the official said, is the relationship between members of the kill team and the crown prince, and the hierarchy of the Saudi system. The official said the report is based on communication intercepts -- including prior phone calls between the kill team and aides for the crown prince -- and on the ground reporting and analysis. The official said the government's reporting was being updated daily.