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 PompeoPompeo: US 'absolutely not' getting out of the Middle East Pompeo taking meeting about running for Kansas Senate seat: report Ex-US envoy in ISIS fight: 'There's no plan for what's coming' after US troop withdrawal in Syria MORE and Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisKerry rips Trump’s ‘pull-out, walk-away presidency’ Macron: US 'retreat from Syria' won't change mission to eradicate ISIS Poll: Most Americans want US troops in Syria 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. 

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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 CorkerThe Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel Former US special envoy to anti-ISIS coalition joins Stanford University as lecturer 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 TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values 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.