Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered an operation to detain missing journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi after luring him back to Saudi Arabia, The Washington Post reported.
The Post reported intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan offer evidence that implicate the regime in Khashoggi's disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkish officials say a Saudi security team lay in wait for the journalist, and then killed and dismembered him.
Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and Mohammed in particular, the Post noted.
And several of Khashoggi's friends said over the past four months, senior Saudi officials close to the crown prince had called Khashoggi to offer him protection — and even a high-level tjob working for the government — if he came back to his native country.
"He said: 'Are you kidding? I don't trust them one bit,'" Khaled Saffuri, an Arab American political activist, told the Post about a conversation he had with Khashoggi in May, moments after a call from Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to the royal court.
According to the Post, the intelligence pointing to a plan to detain Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia has fueled speculation what actually transpired at the consulate was a plan to detain Khashoggi that went wrong.
Turkish officials have concluded, whatever the intent of the operation, Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Investigators have not found his body but have video surveillance showing Khashoggi entering the consulate Oct. 2. There is no footage of him leaving.
According to the Post, the intelligence about Saudi Arabia's earlier plans to detain Khashoggi have also raised questions about whether the Trump administration should have warned Khashoggi he might be in danger.
Khashoggi was a U.S. resident.
The intelligence also poses a political problem for the Trump administration because it implicates Mohammed, who is close to Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, the Post reported.
Kushner and National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke by phone Wednesday with the crown prince, but White House officials said the Saudis provided little information, the Post reported.
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