The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency declined requests to comment on the report as it continues to guard just how much and what exactly it knows about the murder and who ordered it, the Hürriyet Daily News in Turkey on Thursday reports that the CIA has possession of the "smoking gun phone call" in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was recorded, according to sources, giving the order "to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible."
The claim originates with Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, who cites two unidentified sources familiar with the phone intercepts in possession of the CIA:
According to Selvi, CIA Director Gina Haspel “signalled” during her trip to Ankara last month the existence of the wiretapped phone call between Crown Prince Mohammed and his brother Khaled bin Salman, who is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.
Citing unidentified sources, the Turkish columnist wrote that the two Saudi officials are heard in the CIA recording discussing the “discomfort” created by Khashoggi’s public criticism of the kingdom’s administration.
"It is said that the crown prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the CIA wiretapping. The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction," Selvi wrote. Additionally, he stressed that an international investigation into the murder, if opened, "can reveal more jaw-dropping evidence, as CIA has more wiretapped phone calls at hand than the public knows about."
While reporting has stated that the CIA's internal determination is that the crown prince was directly involved, President Donald Trump this week dismissed those findings and said that even if bin Salman was behind the murder, "it is what it is."
Note the recipient of the Saudi crown prince's instruction about Khashoggi--the prince's brother Khalid bin Salman, Saudi ambassador to the US--reportedly told Khashoggi it'd be safe for him to visit the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was murdered. https://t.co/sx7m5XRcz2
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) November 22, 2018