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 PompeoUS-Iran tensions rise: Five things to know about oil tanker attack US-Iran tensions rise: Five things to know about oil tanker attack The US must do its part in closing the largest outdoor prison in the world MORE and Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisTop nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Top nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One 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 CorkerPress: How 'Nervous Nancy' trumped Trump Press: How 'Nervous Nancy' trumped Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment 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 defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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.