Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, sent at least 11 messages to his closest adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, who reportedly oversaw the operatives who killed columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
The report on Saturday said it had reviewed excerpts of an intelligence file that was classified as “highly confidential”, which cites electronic intercepts and other covert information between Prince Mohammed and his aide, Saud al-Qahtani.
However, the content of the messages between the two parties is unknown.
“To be clear, we lack direct reports that the crown prince issued the order of murder,” says the assessment notes, according to the WSJ.
The assessment reports that Qahtani, who allegedly supervised the 15-man squad that killed Khashoggi, was also in direct communication with the team’s leader in Istanbul.
MBS is reported to have told his associates in August last year that if efforts failed to persuade Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the crown prince, to return to Saudi Arabia, he would be lured somewhere else.
Presenter: Richelle Carey
Imadaldin al-Jubouri – writer and academic
Ahmed Al-Burai – writer, Middle East Eye and Daily Sabah
Jacob Parakilas – deputy head, US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House