In the hours before and after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a senior aide who allegedly oversaw the assassination exchanged multiple messages, according to people familiar with the matter.
The communications between the two men are another piece of evidence tying the crown prince to the killing of Khashoggi, a former palace insider turned prominent critic, who also was a contributing columnist to The Washington Post.
The CIA included the existence of the messages in its classified assessment that Mohammed is likely to have ordered Khashoggi’s death, a view that agency officials have shared with members of Congress and the White House.
Mohammed exchanged the messages on Oct. 2 with Saud al-Qahtani, one of his closest aides and a fierce public supporter who has kept a blacklist of those he deems disloyal to the kingdom. The content of the messages, and what form the messages took, was not known, according to people familiar with the matter.