Pro-Saudi Bloc In US Senate Is In Disarray After CIA Closed-Door Briefing On Khashoggi Murder

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Pro-Saudi Bloc In US Senate Is In Disarray After CIA Closed-Door Briefing On Khashoggi Murder

CIA director Gina Haspel

On December 4th, CIA director Gina Haspel gave a briefing to selected Senators on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

ABC News cited leading Republican senators who said that there was “zero question” the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit and ordered the killing. The briefed group included only eight senators.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said “I have zero question in my mind that the Crown Prince MBS ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening. Planned it in advance. If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes. Guilty.”

Corker further called the Trump administration’s repeated claims that there was no evidence of MbS involvement “unacceptable.”

Pro-Saudi Bloc In US Senate Is In Disarray After CIA Closed-Door Briefing On Khashoggi Murder

Sen. Bob Corker

In morbidly ironic fashion, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw. You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi.”

He went on: “If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man, I find it very difficult to be able to do business because I think he’s crazy, I think he’s dangerous, and he has put the relationship at risk.” He concluded that he could not possibly support arms sales to the Kingdom.

Senator Rand Paul expressed his discontent at the closed-door briefing.

“I think it’s wrong for the CIA to have expressed a conclusion that the Crown Prince was involved with the killing of Khashoggi and then withhold that information,” he said.

He further criticized the US foreign policy as a whole:

“I think the time has come for the Senate to grab back foreign policy and say that, ‘you know what, the president, no president, this president, or the previous president has the power to take our country to war with Saudi Arabia and Yemen without the permission of the Senate.’”

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer called on Haspel to testify before the full Senate, after taking part in the briefing.

“While I will not discuss the content of the Haspel briefing, it reinforced the need for a strong response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. CIA Director Haspel should brief the full Senate without delay,” Schumer said in a statement.

CNN cited the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez.  He said that in his opinion US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis were making “a wrong calculation” by declining to blame MbS. Menendez further said the US must “send a clear and unequivocal message that such actions are not acceptable in the world’s stage.”

BBC cited Senator Chris Murphy, who was not part of the briefing. “Not everything needs to be secret,” the Democrat tweeted. “If our government knows that Saudi leaders were involved in the murder of a US resident, why shouldn’t the public know this?”

Murphy also tweeted that Washington would eventually need to have a “good hard talk” about the “over-classification of information.”

Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama said: “Now the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation?”

The CIA has declined any comment following the briefing.

With available information, so far it is known that the CIA has concluded Mohammed bin Salman “probably ordered” the killing of Khashoggi. The spy agency reportedly has evidence he exchanged messages with Saud al-Qahtani, who allegedly oversaw the Saudi reporter’s murder.

This is of significance since next week the US Congress is to vote on the bill that could end US support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

On November 29th, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis briefed all 100 senators, urging them to vote down a War Powers Resolution. According to them support for that war was vital for national security and denied of the existence of any “direct” evidence that MbS was complicit to the Khashoggi killing.

It is worth to note that the Trump administration keeps mentioning “direct” evidence, meaning that there could possibly be strong “indirect” proof of the Crown Prince’s role in the debacle.

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  • I bet Haspel will be the next cabinet member to bite the dust. Trump will not brook disloyalty.

    Say what you want about her involvement in whatever torture program the CIA had going but at least Haspel was professional enough not to compromise the intelligence she had on the topic.

    • javier

      oh please she is a scumbag to the core like almost everyone involved with the US government. You don’t think she is just doing what she is ordered to do? You think she is some independent professional doing her righteous works in a vacuum? They don’t give a shit about any compromised intelligence. They have some scummy agenda to push just like the rest of them.

    • Tudor Miron

      Chris, if you think that Haspel had some sort of good intentions when she was revealing this information that is an illusion.

    • Ronald

      Haspel ignores the chain of command. CIA is military intelligence, and reports to the President, not Congress unless so ordered. Professional is not the word I would use to describe her.

  • You can call me Al

    It is a coup building up, my dog even realises that. A scumbag, more “friendly to the US” than MBS…. and doesn’t talk to Iran, doesn’t talk or buy from Russia and blah blah, blah blah.

    • Sinbad2

      Yes a coup, in America.

      • You can call me Al

        Maybe.. the next few months will tell, but KSA first.

  • Snowglobe

    ““I think the time has come for the Senate to grab back foreign policy and say that, ‘you know what, the president, no president, this president, or the previous president has the power to take our country to war with Saudi Arabia and Yemen without the permission of the Senate.’”

    I think that this is the most important point in this current discussion. Past practice in the US has been secretive, lacked disclosure, the power of the Senate usurped (bought off) and this has led to WAR…time after time after time!

    In my opinion, Haspel was hand picked by Trump because she knows where the bodies are buried. It does not need to be explained that the current Senate is corrupt. By Haspel following past practice it allows Rand to make a fuss on camera and bring this corruption into the current narrative.

    Sadly, it still takes the MSM to bring these issues to the sheeple. By Haspel only reporting to a small group of war hawks, it opens up a can of worms.

    I hope that Rand fights a good fight. This has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia, it is about the US taking control back. If the Senate had been doing their job, all of the wars since 911 would not have happened the way that they did.

  • Sinbad2

    So it’s really terrible that Salman had someone murdered, but when Obama sent a hit team to murder Osama Bin Laden and his family, it was a media event?