White House is helping cover up Khashoggi murder: Former CIA officer
A former CIA case officer and intelligence analyst for CNN claimed the Trump administration is helping the Saudis cover up journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder, according to Business Insider.
Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on Nov. 13, Bob Baer, who worked at a CIA case officer primarily in the Middle East, said the US has purposely muted its response to Khashoggi's murder.
"We've always turned a blind eye to what's going on in Saudi Arabia," he told CNN.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and US resident, was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly shifted its version of the events that transpired that day, and it has fired five top officials and arrested 18 Saudis it says are connected to the killing.
Still, Khashoggi's body has not been returned, and audio recordings circulating around government agencies appear to indicate that that someone senior, possibly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had ordered the killing.
According to The New York Times, the tape allegedly records Khashoggi's last moments, and catches one of his killers call his superior on the phone and tell the person to "tell your boss" that "the deed was done."
"The way Saudi Arabia is run today, Mohammed bin Salman is an autocrat," Baer said. "Security services, the rest of the country, he's in control."
While US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that the audio does not conclusively implicate Prince Mohammed, Baer suggested it is unlikely that anyone else in the Kingdom would have the authority to order such an operation. Bolton has said he has not heard the tape himself.
"The Saudis do not have rogue operations ever," Baer said. "It's never occured. The chances that Mohammed bin Salman ordered this, we're hitting 100%."
"At this point, the White House doesn't see a way out. Saudi Arabia is a volcano and to try and push the Crown Prince out, we don't have any players [in Saudi Arabia] on our side, so we don't know what to do," Baer said. "So we have a psychopath sitting in Riyadh controlling the country."
Prince Mohammed has tightened his grip in the last year since being appointed Crown Prince last June at the age of 31. His massive purge of more than 200 influential Saudi figures, many of whom were members of the Saudi royal family, silenced dissenting voices and cemented his status as Saudi Arabia's most powerful figure.
"No Saudi prince has ever done this ever in its history," Baer said. "I think what worries the White House is this country could pop, and what would we do then?"