Haspel not confirmed for Senate’s Saudi briefing 

Haspel not confirmed for Senate’s Saudi briefing 
© Greg Nash

CIA Director Gina Haspel, viewed as a key authority on her agency’s report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is not yet confirmed for a Wednesday briefing to senators on Saudi Arabia.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Putin orders response to US missile test The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? MORE and Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics MORE are scheduled to attend the briefing, according to Senate sources familiar with the confirmed list of attendees. 

The briefing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday. 


The principle subject of the meeting is the civil war in Yemen, where the United States has helped a Saudi coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But the topic of Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul is sure to come up.

Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post and resided in Virginia. Media outlets have reported that the CIA concluded in a recent finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) has pressed for Haspel, who would be a key authority on Khashoggi’s death, to also attend the briefing. 

Haspel listened to audio of Khashoggi's killing, according to a report in The Washington Post. Haspel did so during a trip to Istanbul. The recording is believed to have been taken by the Turkish government, which has been critical of Khashoggi's killing.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE disputed reports of the crown prince’s involvement last week.

“No, no, they didn’t conclude. I’m sorry. No they didn’t conclude. They did not come to a conclusion. They have feelings certain ways. I have the report,” he told reporters at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 

Senators want Haspel to attend the briefing to speak about the CIA’s views on the crown prince’s involvement in Khashoggi’s death.