Saudi royal casts doubt on CIA's Khashoggi assessment, says crown prince not leaving

Saudi royal casts doubt on CIA's Khashoggi assessment, says crown prince not leaving
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A senior Saudi prince argued Saturday that the CIA's reported assessment on Jamal Khashoggi's killing cannot be trusted and that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will remain active on the world stage.

“The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations. The examples of that are multitude,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, a senior member of the royal family, told journalists in Abu Dhabi, according to Reuters.

The prince cited the agency's conclusion that Iraq possessed chemical weapons as being "the most glaring of inaccurate and wrong assessments, which led to a full-scale war with thousands being killed."

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“I don’t see why the CIA is not on trial in the United States," al-Faisal said. "This is my answer to their assessment of who is guilty and who is not and who did what in the consulate in Istanbul.”

The CIA has reportedly concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered the operation to kill Khashoggi inside the country's consulate in Istanbul last month. The Washington Post and multiple other outlets reported on the assessment last week.

However, President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE has disputed that the CIA has reached a conclusion in the case, saying "they have feelings certain ways" and there is not enough evidence to blame the crown prince for Khashoggi's killing. 

"As I said, 'Maybe he did, maybe he didn't.' But I will say very strongly that [Saudi Arabia is] a very important ally. And if we go by a certain standard we won't be able to have allies with almost any country," Trump said on Thursday.

Al-Faisal also told The Associated Press on Saturday that world leaders at the G-20 summit next week will "have to deal with" the crown prince, saying he will remain active on the world stage despite controversy over Khashoggi's killing. 

He explained that the killing of Khashoggi is "an unacceptable incident that tars and mars the long record of Saudi Arabia’s own standing in the world,” but that "we will have to bear that."

Khashoggi, a Saudi national living in the U.S. and serving as a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed by a 15-member team after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. He had been critical of Saudi leadership previously.

Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people in connection to the dissident journalist's death, including former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri, who is thought to be close to the crown prince.