Intel chief Fidan briefs US senators on Khashoggi killing
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.