ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT
By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman is "complicit" in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a senator said Tuesday.
Senator Lindsey Graham said the de facto ruler of the kingdom was surely responsible for the Saudi journalist's death.
"The crown prince, is a wrecking ball. I think he’s complicit in the murder of Khashoggi to the highest level possible," Graham told reporters after an intelligence briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel.
Haspel briefed a small group of senators on the killing of Khashoggi, after an outcry by lawmakers for her absence last week during a Senate briefing on Yemen that was attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The CIA has yet to make a public comment on the killing, but reports said that the agency concluded the crown prince ordered the murder.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, weeks later the Saudi administration admitted he was killed there.
Graham said bin Salman and Saudi Arabia were two separate entities, and the crown prince could not serve as a reliable partner to the U.S.
"I find it very difficult to be able to do business because I think he’s crazy. I think he is dangerous, and he has put the relationship at risk," he said. "I cannot support arms sales to Saudi Arabia as long he is gonna be in charge of this country. The war in Yemen has gotten out of control."
Senator Bob Corker, one of eight senators at the briefing, also told reporters he believed bin Salman was responsible for the murder.
"If he was in front of a jury he’d be convicted in 30 minutes, guilty," said Corker.
"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince, MBS, ordered the killing, monitored the killing," he added, referring to bin Salman by his initials.
In response to a comment made by Bolton, Graham said there was no smoking gun, but there was a "smoking saw," referring to reports a bone saw was used to dismember Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate.