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CIA director Gina Haspel heard audio of Khashoggi being killed: report



jamal khashoggi
CIA director has reportedly heard audio of Jamal Khashoggi’s last
moments in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Here the journalist
is in Davos in 2011.

Press/Virginia Mayo

  • Turkish officials for two weeks touted the existence of
    an audio recording of Jamal Khashoggi being killed in the Saudi
    consulate in Istanbul.
  • But they had not shared it with the media or
    intelligence partners, prompting President Donald Trump to
    openly doubt the audio’s existence.
  • CIA Director Gina Haspel heard the audio recording
    during a visit to Turkey this week, The Washington Post and
    Reuters reported.
  • Experts say it could put more pressure on the Trump
    administration and Congress to hold Saudi Arabia

CIA Director Gina Haspel reportedly listened to the audio
recording of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi’s last moments after
President Donald Trump openly questioned whether the tape

Haspel listened to the audio during a visit to Turkey this
week, The
Washington Post
 reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Turkish officials have, through multiple leaks to US and Turkish
touted the existence of audio footage of Khashoggi’s
 since October 12.

cia director gina haspel
Gina Haspel, pictured here
in May 2018, reportedly heard the footage.

Alex Wong/Getty

An unnamed source
told The Washington Post
two weeks ago that the “lays out
what happened to Jamal after he entered” the Saudi consulate in

“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,”
the source said. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured
and then murdered.”

But Turkey had not shared the footage with intelligence partners,
prompting Trump to openly doubt its existence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also failed to mention the
audio recording during a highly-anticipated speech about
Khashoggi’s killing on Tuesday.

saudi consulate istanbul jamal khashoggi
Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi died, taken from a
skyscraper on October 10, 2018.


Trump told reporters last Saturday
: “So far, we’ve heard
about it, but nobody has seen it,” adding that, to his knowledge,
that included the FBI and the CIA.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited Saudi Arabia and
Turkey last week to discuss the two countries’ investigations
into Khashoggi, also hadn’t heard the audio, Trump added.

He also said last Wednesday: “I’m not sure yet that it exists.”

A person familiar with the footage told The Washington Post on
Thursday it was “compelling,” and could put more pressure on the
Trump administration to hold Riyadh accountable for Khashoggi’s

Trump on Tuesday described Khashoggi’s killing as “one
of the worst in the history of cover-ups
,” adding that
“somebody really messed up” when conceiving of the plan. But the
US president has
repeatedly refused to halt arms sales
to Saudi Arabia over
Khashoggi’s death.

Trump Mohammed bin Salman
does not want to reduce arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a response
to Khashoggi’s death. Here, the US president with Saudi Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the White House in

Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official who now works at the Brooking
Institution, told The Washington Post that Haspel’s hearing the
audio “puts the ball firmly in Washington’s court.”

Riyadh admitted last Friday — 17 days after his disappearance —
that Khashoggi died inside its consulate in Istanbul, but
claimed it was the result of a fistfight during a rogue operation
unknown to the Saudi leadership and intelligence services.

Riedel also said the fact that Haspel heard the audio could also
compel Congress to ask Haspel to testify.

He told The Washington Post: “Not only will there be more
pressure now from the media but Congress will say, ‘Gina, we
would love to have you come visit and you can tell us exactly
what you heard.'”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday
claimed unity with Turkey
, despite a
series of leaks from Turkish officials
implicating him
personally in the killing.

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