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US intelligence says Saudi crown prince ordered detention of journalist
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered an operation to detain missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after luring him back to Saudi Arabia, U.S. intelligence revealed, according to The Washington Post.
U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Post that Salman and other Saudi officials tried to get Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia, where he is from, with offers of government employment and protection.
The officials said the intelligence further ties the Saudi government to Khashoggi's disappearance at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkish police have said that Khashoggi was likely killed by a Saudi security team when he visited the consulate last week.
Saudi officials have denied they had anything to do with his appearance, and Salman in an interview last week invited Turkish authorities to search the consulate.
Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post and sometimes criticized the Saudi government. U.S. officials and lawmakers, including President Trump, have said they are pressing the Saudi government over his disappearance.
Khashoggi reportedly turned down offers for positions with Salman's government, telling one friend, "Are you kidding? I don't trust them one bit," the Post reported.
While intelligence officials are supposed to warn people who might be harmed, U.S. officials told the Post that the intelligence they reviewed only indicated Salman and his government wanted to detain Khashoggi, not hurt him.
"Capturing him, which could have been interpreted as arresting him, would not have triggered a duty-to-warn obligation," one former official told the Post. "If something in the reported intercept indicated that violence was planned, then, yes, he should have been warned."
Trump will be required to probe Khashoggi's disappearence after a letter from a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday requested that he requesting he initiate an investigation under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
The Washington Post last week ran an editorial arguing Khashoggi's disappearence was part of an effort by Salman's government to censor his critics.
"His criticism, voiced over the past year, most surely rankles Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated to crown prince last year and has carried out a wide-ranging campaign to silence dissent while trying to modernize the kingdom," the piece read.