Saudis to admit journalist Khashoggi was killed by mistake: reports

Saudi Arabia is preparing an official account that will admit journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to multiple reports on Monday.

It is not clear how much responsibility Saudi Arabia will take for the journalist's death, as reports indicate that while an official narrative is being prepared it is not complete.

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The kingdom will reportedly deflect responsibility for the death away from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by saying Khashoggi's death was "unintentional" and the result of a "botched operation" by Saudi agents who were not authorized by the government's top authorities, two sources told CNN

"We are hearing from the sources at this stage that [the operation] was not carried out with the proper clearance," CNN's Clarissa Ward said on air.

"There will be plenty of people who will have difficulty swallowing that narrative, [saying] it's hard to believe anything of this nature, of this sensitivity, could possibly take place without those in power in Saudi Arabia … being privy to it on some level," Ward noted. 

A source familiar with Saudi plans told The New York Times earlier Monday that Saudi Arabia was planning to indicate the killing was done by an incompetent intelligence official.

The Wall Street Journal also reported Saudis are weighing admitting one of their intelligence officials killed Khashoggi by mistake.

A joint team of Saudi and Turkish investigators on Monday began their search of the Saudi consulate in Turkey, where Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2. 

Turkish reports have indicated Saudi agents were likely working on orders from Riyadh when they allegedly dismembered and killed Khashoggi. Turkey said they have unreleased video and audio evidence of the incident. 

Saudi Arabia has so far denied a role in Khashoggi's disappearance.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE on Monday morning suggested that "rogue killers" could have been behind Khashoggi's disappearance. According to the Times, this language is similar to the narrative Saudi Arabia will soon release. 

Khashoggi was a Virginia-based contributor to The Washington Post. He often criticized the Saudi government.

U.S. intelligence previously indicated Saudi officials were plotting to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia in order to detain him.