In­tel chief Fi­dan briefs US sen­a­tors on Khashoggi killing

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Politics -

NA­TIONAL In­tel­li­gence Or­ga­ni­za­tion (MİT) head Hakan Fi­dan held a closed-door meeting with CIA Direc­tor Gina Haspel and sev­eral U.S. sen­a­tors over Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi’s mur­der, Al-Jazeera re­ported on Thurs­day.

Cit­ing Turk­ish sources, the re­port said that the top spy briefed members of the Se­nate about Khashoggi’s killing upon the re­quest of the law­mak­ers.

Turk­ish me­dia re­ported that Fi­dan would also hold other meetings with top of­fi­cials on the is­sue.

The re­ported meeting comes days af­ter CIA Direc­tor Haspel briefed a se­lect few members of the Se­nate about the mur­der. Sen­a­tors leav­ing the brief­ing said they are even more con­vinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man (MBS) was in­volved in the death of Khashoggi.

Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said fol­low­ing the brief­ing by Haspel that he be­lieves if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in “about 30 min­utes.”

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., who de­manded the brief­ing with Haspel, said there is “zero chance” the crown prince wasn’t in­volved in Khashoggi’s death.

Khashoggi was killed two months ago on Oct. 2. The jour­nal­ist, who had lived for a time in the United States and wrote for The Washington Post, had been crit­i­cal of the Saudi regime. He was killed in what U.S. of­fi­cials have de­scribed as an elab­o­rate plot as he vis­ited the con­sulate for mar­riage pa­per­work.

Sen­a­tors are con­sid­er­ing mul­ti­ple pieces of leg­is­la­tion to for­mally re­buke Saudi Ara­bia for the slay­ing of Khashoggi, with mo­men­tum build­ing for a res­o­lu­tion to call Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man com­plicit in the killing. Corker said Thurs­day that sen­a­tors are look­ing at mov­ing three mea­sures, a res­o­lu­tion to con­demn the crown prince for Khashoggi’s mur­der, a bill to sus­pend arms sales to the king­dom and a res­o­lu­tion to call on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to pull back U.S. aid for the Saudi- led war in Ye­men.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have con­cluded that the crown prince must have at least known of the plot, but the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been re­luc­tant to pin the blame.

Saudi Ara­bia has sought to dis­tance MBS from the mur­der and has re­ceived un­bend­ing sup­port from Trump, who sees Riyadh as a vi­tal se­cu­rity part­ner in the Mid­dle East and a key oil ex­porter and buyer of U.S. arms.

But U.S. law­mak­ers have grown in­creas­ingly leery about Amer­i­can sup­port for the Saudi-led mil­i­tary cam­paign in Ye­men.

A bi­par­ti­san group of sen­a­tors on Wed­nes­day in­tro­duced a res­o­lu­tion that, if ap­proved, would say the Se­nate “has a high level of con­fi­dence” that MBS was “com­plicit” in Khashoggi’s killing, and would as­sail Riyadh for its role in Ye­men’s hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis. The Se­nate could also vote on a sep­a­rate mea­sure next week to force the U.S. to end its mil­i­tary sup­port to the Saudi-led coali­tion in Ye­men.

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