U.S. says Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing, imposes visa restrictions on 76 Saudis

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It was just about two pages long but those pages carried the weight of the. Us government will not proven a summary of findings issued by us intelligence agency state that saudi arabia's crown prince approved two thousand eighteen killing of jamal. Khashoggi it's been long suspected that prince mohammed bin salman defacto leader ordered the murder but the release of the summary finding sends a clear signal. That president biden's taking tougher stand against the kingdom than his predecessor. Npr's jackie northam has been following developments and joins us. Jackie thanks so much for being with us morning. Scott hi please give us an overview of the main findings right well just to be clear. There's no smoking gun but you know. There's a lot of circumstantial evidence in this two page report. And let me just read you a line from it. If i could quote the crown prince has had absolute control of the kingdom security and intelligence organizations making it highly unlikely that saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the crown prince's authorization unquote and scott. It goes on to say that members of his close inner circle were involved. In the killing and dismemberment of kashogi and the crown prince has supported the use of violent methods to silence dissidents abroad. And you compare what's in this report to what president trump said when asked about whether the crown prince had any knowledge of the killing and he downplayed it saying maybe he did. Maybe he didn't and One of the things to keep in mind. You know this report is a summary and there's a lot more evidence that the cia has about khashoggi's death that remains classified this report summary note but Does seem to say pretty bluntly that. The saudi crown prince has blood on his hands What kind of potential impact Could this happen relations between the us and saudi arabia. Which after all has been a very close ally for decades right. yeah well. it's it's definitely bound to have an impact you know. The crown prince is likely to become king of saudi arabia. And we'll be around for a very long time and it'll be interesting to see how the us will deal with him both in the short term after this report and certainly in the long term once he becomes king. We don't know how that's gonna shake out yet but as you say. Saudi arabia is a longtime ally in a really strategically important area of the world. You know in an interview with npr. Yesterday admiral hanes the director of national intelligence. Said it was just too soon to tell if the relationship has been damaged by this. Let's have a listen. It is not surprising. I suppose to see a shift in the relationship in some ways with the new administration and a new position and the number of challenging issues that we face together. But i think there will be what he's to whether the various storms that we have in front of us and one other thing. The saudi foreign ministry said on friday that the kingdom has already jailed. Those responsible for kashoggi's killing and that while it completely rejects the reports findings it called. Us saudi relationships robust and enduring. Jackie calls from From many quarters Clothing members of congress Human rights organizations calling on president biden to to punish sanction of the crown prince For his role in khashoggi's death. How likely does that seem to be. Biden's stop short of severely punishing the crown prince. But he said on. Friday evening that from now on the kingdom is going to be held responsible for human rights abuses and he said that there would be more significant changes announced on monday. He didn't indicate what those might be. But you know the administration did take some other steps yesterday. It announced something called the kashogi ban which allows the state department to impose visa restrictions on anyone acting on behalf of a foreign government Who's threatening dissidents overseas and it's already imposes kashogi ban on seventy six saudis and their families. And you know secretary of state. Anthony blinken talked about these moves by the us yesterday. Here he is. So what we've done by the actions that we've taken Is really not to rupture the relationship. But to recalibrate to be more in line with our interests and our values but apparently this travel ban doesn't include the crown prince himself and administration officials said on background yesterday that as a matter of practice. The us doesn't apply sanctions on the highest leadership of countries with which it has diplomatic relations and already there are increasing calls for tougher action against the saudi crown print

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