Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said he would "use bullet" on Khashoggi

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said he would "use bullet" on Khashoggi
Intercepted communications from the Kingdom have revealed Mohammed bin Salman conversation in 2017 in which he said he would "use a bullet" on journalist Khashoggi.
2 min read
08 February, 2019
The crown prince has come under fire since Khashoggi's death [AFP/Getty Images]
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia said in 2017 he would use "a bullet" on journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a New York Times report has said, quoting US intelligence officials.

Prince Mohammed is heard telling top aide Turki Aldakhil that Khashoggi, who was murdered last October, should return to Saudi Arabia or be brought back forcefully. If these two scenarios did not occur, he would kill Khashoggi with "a bullet", according to American officials with direct knowledge of the intercepts. 

The conversation was intercepted by American intelligence agencies in their attempts to uncover who was behind Khashoggi's death.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and other US spy agencies have been combing through bin Salman's voice and text communications, according to the report.

US officials made clear to the NYT that bin Salman most likely did not mean use "a bullet" literally. But the conversation he had with his aid does strongly indicate that the prince wanted Khashoggi dead.

In their conversation, bin Salman and Aldakhil expressed  their concern at Khashoggi's prominence and his criticism of the Saudi regime. Their conversation in September 2017 took place at the same time that Khashoggi began writing for The Washington Post.

The NSA has been circulating reports about the crown prince's communications to spy agencies, the White House and close foreign allies, the NYT reported. Shortly after Khashoggi's death, the CIA concluded the hit was ordered by the Saudi prince. 

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, likely at the orders of the young but powerful royal.

The CIA believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi and say his body was dismembered and removed to a location still publicly unknown.

His remains have not been found.