A longtime Senate Democrat said Monday the nation's intelligence community needs to publicly release its assessment of how a Saudi dissident journalist was killed in Turkey last month — which the CIA reportedly believes was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told Reuters it's time for the CIA to speak out amid President Donald Trump's comments over the weekend that cast doubt on the CIA assessment.
"The question of whether the crown prince of Saudi Arabia had any role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi is tremendously important when it comes to the United States' response to the killing and other Saudi actions," Wyden said.
"Donald Trump just says 'will anybody really know?' as if our intelligence agencies are incapable of making an assessment. It is time for CIA Director Haspel and DNI [Dan] Coats to come out and provide the American people and the Congress with a public assessment of who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi."
Trump was asked about Khashoggi's murder in an interview with Fox News and he said Saudi Arabia is an important U.S. ally.
"Well, will anybody really know?" Trump said when asked whether the crown prince ordered the Oct. 2 death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. "At the same time, we do have an ally, and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good."
The CIA, relying mainly on circumstantial evidence and its experts' conclusion that the crown prince tightly controlled Saudi government actions, last week briefed Congress on its assessment that the prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The briefing to Congress was the foundation for a flood of media leaks reporting that the agency had concluded that the crown prince ordered the murder. But Congress was not presented with a written agency report saying this, one source said.
The CIA assessment is backed by the firing last week by the Saudi government of two top Saudi security officials, both of whom U.S. officials believe were implicated in the murder.
Content from Reuters was used in this report.
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