CIA director listened to recording of Khashoggi’s killing: report

CIA director listened to recording of Khashoggi’s killing: report
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CIA Director Gina Haspel listened to an audio recording of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's alleged murder in the Saudi consulate earlier this month in Istanbul, according to the Washington Post.

A person familiar with the audio told the Post that it was "compelling" and could put more pressure on the U.S. to hold Saudi Arabia's government accountable for what happened to Khashoggi.

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Officials with Turkey first suggested the existence of a recording of Khashoggi's killing. 

The Saudi government initially said the dissident had left the consulate freely, without providing any evidence to show that that was true. 

On Friday, after changing its story repeatedly, it said Khashoggi had been killed after a fight broke out between him and a group of Saudis that had been sent to Turkey to interrogate him and bring him back to Riyadh. 

U.S. officials have openly said they do not believe this account, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE this week described as the worst cover up ever. 

The Saudi government has also sought to distance its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the incident, even as experts have said it is difficult to believe the plot to bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia — if true — would have been carried out without his knowledge.

While Trump has discussed possible sanctions on Saudi Arabia, he has also stressed the need to keep a strong relationship between the United States and Riyadh.

But Haspel's listening to audio of the journalist's death could make it more difficult for the administration to avoid a tough response. Khashoggi was a resident of Virginia.