‘Murder’ proof in a watch?
MISSING JOURNALIST A report says Turkish officials have a recording of the ‘killing’ from Khashoggi’s Apple watch
ISTANBUL: Turkish officials have an audio recording of the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Apple Watch he wore when he walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago, a pro-government Turkish newspaper reported Saturday.
The new claim published by the Sabah newspaper, through which Turkish security officials have leaked much information about the case, puts more pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi.
Also Saturday, Turkey’s top diplomat reiterated a call to Saudi Arabia to open up its consulate, from where Khashoggi disappeared, for Turkish authorities to search.
The writer, who has written critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared after he walked into the consulate October 2. The kingdom has maintained the allegations against it are “baseless,” though an official early Saturday on Khashoggi’s 60th birthday acknowledged for the first time some believe the writer was killed by the kingdom.
Authorities recovered the audio from Khashoggi’s iphone and his icloud account, the newspaper said. The journalist had given his phones to his fiancée before entering the consulate. The newspaper also alleged Saudi officials tried to delete the recordings first by incorrectly guessing Khashoggi’s PIN on the watch, then later using the journalist’s finger. However, Apple Watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function like iphones. The newspaper did not address that in its report.
An Apple Watch can record audio and can sync that later with an iphone over a Bluetooth connection if it is close by. The newspaper’s account did not elaborate on how the Apple Watch synced that information to both the phone and Khashoggi’s icloud account. Turkish officials have not answered queries from The AP about Khashoggi’s Apple Watch.
Turkish officials say they believe a 15-member “assassination squad” killed Khashoggi. They’ve also alleged that they have video of the slaying, but not explained how they have it.
Turkey may be trying to protect its intelligence sources through leaking this way, analysts say. “Under normal circumstances, intelligence services would want to protect their sources, whether human or technical,” Carrie Cordero, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, wrote recently.
Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this week.