While President Trump has denied ever having personally heard the audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death in a Saudi consulate, officials say that the CIA has been given access to the recording.
CIA officials who have heard the recording describe it exactly as the Turkish press did, saying that it proves Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a Saudi kill team. The Turkish government also reportedly provided a copy of the recording to a Saudi prince sent to “investigate.”
Analysts speculated that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have chosen not to hear it, noting “once you listen to it, you can’t say certain things,” and that he couldn’t unlisten to the recording.
That some US intelligence officials have heard the recording is adding to the problem of lawmakers, including a growing number in the House, pushing US intelligence chief Dan Coats for details on the investigation.
Recent reports have indicated that the administration has refused even high-ranking Senators access to up-to-date intelligence on the killing. That clearly can’t last, and there are growing demands for officials to offer real specifics, including on the US investigation, what they knew, and when they knew it.
The Administration is resisting Congressional calls to pull arms sales from the Saudis, and the less Congress knows, the easier it is to do that. As the public learns more, however, the administration will struggle to keep everything under wraps.