‘Tell your boss’: Recording is seen to link Saudi Crown Prince more strongly to Khashoggi killing
Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss,” believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, the New York Times reported Nov. 12 by citing three people familiar with a recording of Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence.
The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.
While the prince was not mentioned by name, American intelligence officials believe “your boss” was a reference to Prince Mohammed. Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis dispatched to Istanbul to confront Mr. Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate there, made the phone call and spoke in Arabic, the people told the NYT.
Turkish intelligence officers have told American officials they believe that Mr. Mutreb, a security officer who frequently traveled with Prince Mohammed, was speaking to one of the prince’s aides. While translations of the Arabic may differ, the people briefed on the call said Mutreb also said to the aide words to the effect of “the deed was done,” the report added.
“A phone call like that is about as close to a smoking gun as you are going to get,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer now at the Brookings Institution. “It is pretty incriminating evidence.”