MBS Threatened To Use ’Bullet’ On Khashoggi Year before Murder
By Staff, Agencies
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman [MBS], the kingdom’s de-facto ruler, said back in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a New York Times report said, citing US intelligence officials with knowledge of intercepted communications between MBS and a senior Saudi aide.
The US National Security Agency and other government intelligence outfits discovered the conversation while investigating years of bin Salman’s text and voice communications, according to a NYT report.
MBS spoke with a top aide named Turki Aldakhil about Khashoggi in September 2017, the report added. The two Saudis apparently expressed concern that Khashoggi’s writings were tarnishing the government’s image.
MBS reportedly told Aldakhil that if Khashoggi refused to return to Saudi Arabia willingly, then he should somehow be forced back. He then added if neither of those panned out, he would take out Khashoggi with “a bullet”, officials familiar with the conversation told the NYT.
While US intelligence officials stressed to the NYT that MBS may not have meant those words in a literal sense, they said it indicates that the crown prince had expressed a desire to see the Washington Post journalist dead.
Days after MBS spoke with Aldakhil, the country’s de-facto ruler talked with Saud al-Qahtani, the intelligence officials told NYT. Qahtani has been identified by US intelligence agencies as the ringleader of the Khashoggi murder plot and Saudi Arabia removed him from his post as an adviser to the royal court.
According to officials with knowledge of this particular conversation, MBS chastised Qahtani after the aide warned against making any move that might cause an international outcry.
“Saudi Arabia should not care about international reaction to how it handles its own citizens, the crown prince told Mr. al-Qahtani,” the NYT report said, citing the intelligence officials.
MBS told Qahtani that he “did not like half-measures — he never liked them and did not believe in them,” according to an intelligence official.