RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist before his disappearance in a call with the White House, according to people familiar with the discussion.
In the phone call, the crown prince urged US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton to preserve the US-Saudi alliance, and said Khashoggi was a member of Muslim Brotherhood, a group opposed by senior Trump officials, reports The Washington Post.
The attempt to criticize Khashoggi in private, stands in contrast to the Saudi government’s later public statements decrying his death as a “terrible mistake” and “terrible tragedy.”
The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, described Khashoggi last month as a “friend” who dedicated “a great portion of his life to serve his country.”
A Saudi official denied on Wednesday that the crown prince made the allegations, saying that “routine calls do exist from time to time” between the young leader and top US officials but that “no such commentary was conveyed.”
Saudi Arabia has faced international condemnation for its shifting accounts of Khashoggi’s disappearance October 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The kingdom initially said Khashoggi walked out of the consulate unharmed but then said Saudi agents had accidentally killed him in a fistfight, and more recently announced that it had evidence that his killing was “premeditated.”