CIA Has Recording of Saudi Crown Prince Ordering Khashoggi Silenced, Turkish Media Reports

Prominent Turkish columnist says CIA director Gina Haspel had 'signaled' the existence of the recording in a visit to Ankara

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman arrives to meet Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street in London, March 7, 2018.
REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The CIA has a recording of a phone call in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave instructions to "silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible," Turkish news website Hurriyet Daily News said on Thursday. 

It cited a prominent Turkish columnist as saying CIA director Gina Haspel had "signaled" the existence of the recording during a visit to Ankara last month. 

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A Turkish official contacted by Reuters said he had no information about such a recording. "There is talk of another recording," Hurriyet newspaper journalist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in a column, saying the purported call took place between Prince Mohammed and his brother, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington.

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"It is being said that CIA chief Gina Haspel indicated this during her visit to Turkey," he wrote, adding that they had discussed Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom's de facto ruler. 

"It is being said the crown prince gave orders to 'silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible'," in a call which was monitored by the U.S. agency, he said. 

A day earlier, Turkish news site Haberturk released what it said was quotes from a tape of the Saudi dissident journalist's last moments.

Also Thursday, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign affairs chief, said after talks with Turkey's foreign minister that a transparent and credible investigation into the killing of Khashoggi has not yet been completed.

Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Riyadh has said it was seeking the death penalty for five suspects in the case. 

Speaking at a joint news conference with EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Mogherini said she was completely against any application of the death penalty. 

Haaretz contributed to this report.