The Trump Administration has settled decisively on not blaming the Saudi Crown Prince for murdering reporter Jamal Khashoggi. The evidence underpinning this allegation, at least from the CIA assessment, centers of intercepted messages.
The Saudi Crown Prince wasn’t physically in Istanbul doing the murdering, and that seems to be the sum total of the uncertainty that the administration is resting on. His closest adviser was there, however, overseeing the murder. The CIA also intercepted 11 messages from the prince to this adviser in the hours immediately leading up to and following the murder.
Another intercept the CIA got from the crown prince pointed to the underlying plot itself, with the prince saying “we could probably lure Khashoggi outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements” even if they couldn’t lure him back to Saudi Arabia.
The murder plot itself may also have involved intercepted messages, according to a new lawsuit filed by a friend of Khashoggi, Omar Abdulaziz. Abdulaziz had been in contact with Khashoggi on WhatsApp in the leadup to his murder, and believes that the Saudis used an Israeli companies software to hack his phone and gather information.
Abdulaziz says he believes that the hacking of his phone “played a major role in what happened to Jamal,” and that the “guilt is killing me.”